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

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

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.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of SydneyAustralia


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