There are currently an estimated 3-4 million migrant workers in Thailand coming from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. The majority of workers are from Myanmar and an estimated 43% of Myanmar migrants are women. Women migrate from Myanmar due to ongoing military conflict, pervasive poverty, and a lack of viable livelihood options. Migrant women in Thailand mainly take jobs in factory work, including seafood processing and garment manufacturing, in the construction sector, and in the informal sector, which includes agriculture and the service sector such as domestic work and the entertainment industry. These women face discrimination on a daily basis in terms of wages, working hours, freedom of movement, and reproductive rights. Their wages are significantly lower than men’s and the work that women do is not recognised as work.
MAP Foundation, a Thai NGO working with Burmese migrant workers in Thailand, used the Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) as a tool to learn more about how women migrant workers perceive “a living wage” and what they see as obstacles to attaining it. Through the course of their research with APWLD, a living wage may seem like a far off dream to achieve due to several challenges that include, among others, complex migrant policies in Thailand.
Read and download our briefer ‘Dream out of Reach: A Living Wage for Women Migrant Workers in Thailand’ to know more. For the Thai version, click here.