The Care Drain and its Effects on the Families Left Behind: A Case Study of Sri Lanka

in Comparative Sociology
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As growing numbers of women from the global South leave behind their own families to take up domestic work in wealthier countries, this shift in care and emotional resources has created a “care drain” in many migrant-exporting nations. Drawing on in-depth interviews with the families of migrant domestic workers in Sri Lanka, this paper examines how the care deficit caused by low-skilled female migration affects family structures, household relations, and the psychosocial wellbeing of migrants’ families. Highlighting the tension between the economic benefits and social costs of migration, the overall findings of this study suggest that despite economic benefits, low-skilled female migration often works to the social and emotional detriment of the families left behind.

The Care Drain and its Effects on the Families Left Behind: A Case Study of Sri Lanka

in Comparative Sociology



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    Departures for foreign employment by sex (%) 1986-2010.

    institute of policy studies, 2013.

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    Primary caregiver/s in the absence of the mother (percentage exceeds 100% because in some families there was more than one primary caregiver).
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    Secondary caregiver/s in the absence of the mother (percentage exceeds 100 because in some families there was more than one secondary caregiver).
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    Main uses of remittance income within households (percentage exceeds 100 because participants often gave multiple answers).

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