Gretty Mirdal, Nermin Abadan-Unat (éd.), Emancipation in Exile: Perspectives on the Empowerment of Migrant Women, Istanbul, İstanbul Bilgi Üniversity Press, 2015, 304 p.
Whereas labour migration had primarily been a male phenomenon throughout history, large numbers of women began to migrate from the South in order to find work in the North of Europe in the 1970’s. In the case of Turkey, women of rural or small town background who had never been employed, who were mentally unprepared, and to some degree unwilling to leave their homes, were suddenly urged by their mail relatives to take up industrial or service jobs in foreign countries. By 1974 there were almost three times as many Turkish women working in Germany compared to the number of women in Turkish industry.
At that time, Professor Nermin Abadan Unat raised a question on the potential influence that this migration could have on the emancipation –or pseudoemancipation– of these women who were leaving Turkey to become industrial workers abroad.
Four decades later, this volume analyses how social, political and religious changes in the home and host countries of the immigrant women, influenced the predicted processes of change. Has there been a significant increase in individual autonomy, self-determination and gender equality? Or has a hasty modernization created a false climate of liberation or “pseudo-emancipation”, without significantly increasing selfdetermination and independence? How has the very concepts of “emancipation” and “migration” evolved in the meantime? How do the women themselves perceive their own situation?
Nineteen experts in social science, and migration and gender studies have contributed to this study of the processes of emancipation and the pathways to empowerment of women who thought they were leaving temporarily but ended up spending their lives in exile.