Globalisation has set in motion large-scale population movements that render meaningless distinct categories of displacements. Yet, in recent years nation states have increasingly emphasized the distinction between ‘economic’ migrants and political refugees. This paper interrogates the overlapping processes of cross -border and internal displacements in postcolonial states. In particular, I argue that gendered complexities of internal and international displacement require urgent attention. Based on recent and ongoing ethnographic research among poverty induced internally displaced women in India and cross-border forced migrants, this paper considers the context of their experiences. Focusing on some of the shared spaces of ‘economic’ and ‘political’ dislocation I outline how women and their families cope as forced migrants and how women themselves view and assess their situation. Given the escalating regional conflicts and the inability of states to ensure the rights of their own citizens, this paper reflects on methodological aspects of researching women’s experiences of displacement.