Publication Details

Ganguly-Scrase, R., Vogl, G. J. & Julian, R. (2005). Neoliberal globalisation and women's experience of forced migrations in Asia. In C. Bailey & K. Barnett (Eds.), Social Change in the 21st Century: 2005 Conference Proceedings (pp. 2-14). Brisbane, Australia: Centre for Social Change Research, School Humanities & Human Services, QUT.


The world is now characterised by extensive and rapid movements of people. An increasingly important issue for industrialised countries, such as Australia, 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 paper will examine women's experiences of forced migration and the nee-liberal global context in which they occur. Over the past two decades the implementation of neoliberal policies in both the North and South have 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, our paper will show that increasingly nation states have closed their borders to 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 paper will map out the ways in which the aggressive pursuit of nee-liberal agendas and the rise of exclusionary politics, based on national security and border protection, result in greater social inequalities for women. By focusing on the ways in which women confront and interpret the commonalities and differences of dislocation, our paper will evaluate the contemporary applicability of the concept of "refugee" in postcolonial states and highlight the significance of gendered displacements.