Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Leela Gulati. In the Absence of their Men: The Impact of Male Migration on Women. New Delhi: Sage Publications. 1993. x+174 pp. Hardback. Indian Rs 200.00.

Among the neighbouring countries of South and South-East Asia who responded to the demand for labour following the oil price hike in the Middle East in 1973, India had sent out an estimated 75600 workers as migrants to the Middle East by 1987. Of these, 30100 workers had migrated from Kerala alone (Appendix I on p. 147 ofthis book shows). Gulati’s book sketches the profiles of ten such households. The book is a simple and direct narration of the effects on the women left behind on account of the absence of the men of their households who went to work in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait from the mid-seventies. The analysis is based primarily on the biographies of the wives of ten migrants. The consequences of migration are assessed with reference to other family-members of the migrant as well, particularly women other than the wife (i.e., mostly the mothers and sisters).

Soofia Mumtaz