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State of World Population 2006

A Passage to Hope - Women and International Migration

image of State of World Population 2006

This year’s report focuses on the lives of migrant women. Every year millions of women working overseas send hundreds of millions of dollars in remittances back to their homes and communities. These funds go to feed and educate children, provide health care, build homes, foster small businesses and generally improve living standards for loved ones left behind. For host countries, the labour of migrant women is so embedded in the fabric of society that it goes virtually unnoticed. Migrant women toil in the households of working families, soothe the sick and comfort the elderly. They contribute their technical and professional expertise, pay taxes and quietly support a quality of life that many take for granted.

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Safeguarding human rights, embracing cultural diversity

Despite considerable promise, international migration also poses some major dilemmas—whether arising out of security, economic, demographic, patriotic, social, cultural or human rights concerns. Nonetheless, international migration is here to stay: There is no indication that humankind—on the move since its early history—will refrain from seizing the opportunities that an increasingly interconnected world of expanding prospects has to offer. Migration will endure for at least as long as poverty and inequality affect a huge swath of humanity. The real challenge is how best to expand the positive contributions of international migration—especially when it comes to poverty reduction and development—while mitigating the risks for all involved.

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