The world is now characterised by extensive and rapid movements of people. An increasingly important issue for the Asia Pacific region is the rising number of people who are becoming displaced within their homelands as a result of a multitude of interconnected factors. The majority of displaced persons and refugees in our region are women and children. Yet, they are severely underrepresented in refugee determination processes, claims for asylum and settlement. This article will examine the neo-liberal global context in which women's experiences of forced migrations are situated. Over the past two decades the implementation of neo-liberal policies has not only resulted in colossal displacements, but have simultaneously given rise to exclusionary politics. While globalisation conjures up a vision of a borderless world, as a result of free flow of goods, this article will show that increasingly nation states have hardened their attitudes towards the displaced, emphasising the distinction between ‘economic’ migrants and political refugees. Based on recent fieldwork among internally displaced women and cross-border forced migrants in South Asia, our article will map out the ways in which the aggressive pursuit of neo-liberal agendas and the rise of exclusionary politics result in greater social inequalities for women. By focusing on the ways in which women confront and interpret the commonalities and differences of dislocation, this article will evaluate the contemporary applicability of the concept of “refugee” in post-colonial states and highlight the significance of gendered displacements.