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MIGRANTS’ NARRATIVES: YOUTH TRANSITION, IDENTITY FORMATION AND EXPERIENCE OF ETHIOPIAN FEMALE RETURNEES FROM THE MIDDLE EAST [Abstract ID: 1002-14]
Young Ethiopian women from rural areas in Ethiopia have been migrating to international destinations, mainly the Middle East, with increased numbers. This migration is often depicted as disadvantageous to the migrants, because of abusive working condition and insufficient economic returns. Migrant women are seen as passive victims. Despite the effort of the government to curb this migration, more young women continue to migrate to Middle Eastern destinations. This paper discusses the experience of young women migrants from their own perspective, focusing on initial expectations of migration, the migration process, the experiences abroad and upon return. The narratives reconstruct the migration experiences of the women and the impact of their transition to adulthood and their consequent return to Ethiopia. The study uses transnational migration theory, feminist analyses of migration and concepts dealing with social age and youth transition. The field research has been conducted in Gomma Wereda, Jimma Zone, and employs mainly interviews. The study reveals the transnational experiences of young women migrants/returnees and how these experiences contribute to shaping expectations and to creating new gender relations resulting in increased migration of young women. Both the experiences of migration and its outcomes are diverse. Women are not passive victims but agents of their decisions who in their post return residence in their home space experience conflicting expectations and often decide to remigrate.