Looking Across the Mediterranean

by Rosemary Sayigh
published in MER124

"Femmes de la Mediterranée," Peuples Mediterraneens/Mediterranean Peoples 22-23 (January-June 1983).

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Women and Labor Migration

One Egyptian Village

by Fatma Khafagy
published in MER124

Women are now the heads of between 25 and 35 percent of all households in developing countries. [1] In the Middle East and North Africa, women head about 16 percent of all households. [2] One main reason for the increasing number of households headed by women is male migration to seek work outside their own countries, unaccompanied by their wives and children. When male villagers from Egypt emigrate, they do so without their families. [3] For one thing, a large number emigrate illegally, with neither official work contracts nor legal residence in countries of employment. It is much easier for them to move alone and leave their families behind.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Yemeni Workers Abroad

The Impact on Women

by Cynthia Myntti
published in MER124

In Yemen one often hears the hypothesis that as men migrate abroad in search of work, women move into male economic and political roles, at least within the household. The assumption is that women take over production tasks and decisionmaking which have always been the responsibility of men. While this may well be happening in some communities in Yemen, the evidence in one village of Ta‘izz province, in the southern part of the country, suggests that the domestic effects of migration might not be simply to “fill the vacuum” created by the absence of men. [1]

Egyptian Migration and Peasant Wives

by Elizabeth Taylor
published in MER124

In the 1960s, Egypt supplied the labor markets of the Middle East with professionals and administrators seconded by the government. Carefully regulated and controlled, the export of labor was consistent both with Egypt’s policies in the area and with its own manpower needs. In the 1970s, government-seconded labor was overtaken in volume by a huge and largely unregulated flow of labor at all skill levels. By 1975, Egypt had overtaken Yemen as the major exporter of labor in the area, and its share of the total Arab migrant labor market had reached one third. By 1980, Egypt had at least doubled its migrant stock, an estimated 10 percent of which are women.

The Yemenis of the San Joaquin

by Ron Kelley
published in MER139

Musa (“Moses”) Saleh laughs now at his expectations as a new immigrant to the United States. “We were fooled,” he says, reflecting on the first morning when he prepared for his new job as an apricot picker in California. “We didn’t know what kind of work our Yemeni friends had been doing here…. I dressed up in a suit and necktie and a nice pair of shoes and walked in and everyone started laughing. Well, I saw their clothes. I didn’t have to see anything else. Regular clothes, apricot juice all over them….

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Sojourners and Settlers

Yemenis in America

by Jon C. Swanson
published in MER139

The United States is a nation of common people from marginal environments. In spite of contemporary America’s preoccupation with coats of arms, few of our ancestors were the children of privilege. Nor did they come from lush plains or fecund valleys. More often it was the mountains and hill country they left behind, where stony soils, forests, or harsh weather made farming difficult and made them willing to tear themselves away and take their chances in far-off America. They were Irish from Kerry and Donegal, Italians from Sicily and Abruzzo, Romanians from the mountains of Transylvania and Swedes from the forests of Smaland and Dalarna.

Sojourners and Settlers: An Introduction

by Jonathan Friedlander , Joe Stork
published in MER139

The full moon over Mecca marked the end of the holy month of pilgrimage. Ten thousand miles away in California, a Yemeni work crew gathered around a pickup truck with its precious cargo of sheep destined for sacrifice. A group of cowboys looked on, bewildered. These farmworkers are part of a two-decade old migration of tens of thousands of workers from Yemen to oil-rich Persian Gulf countries and, in smaller numbers, to Europe and the United States.

Owen, Migrant Workers in the Gulf

by James Paul
published in MER141


Roger Owen, Migrant Workers in the Gulf (London: Minority Rights Group, Report No. 68, 1985).


Today, as oil prices plunge, the six million foreign workers in the Gulf are feeling the crunch. Roger Owen's new survey of Gulf migrant workers is especially welcome, for the future of Gulf societies in this new era is closely bound up with the question of these foreign workers.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Migrant Labor and the Politics of Development in Bahrain

by Rob Franklin
published in MER132

Bahrain was, after Iran and Iraq, the first country in the Gulf to have its petroleum resources developed by Western companies. It has a longer history of economic and infrastructural development than any other state in the peninsula. Bahrain’s petroleum reserves and producing capacity are also the smallest of the Gulf oil producing states. Thus, Bahrain’s rulers were the first in the Gulf to confront the problem of building a diversified modern economy. Furthermore, while political legitimacy is problematical throughout the Gulf, it is especially so in Bahrain.

Works on North African Migration

by David McMurray
published in MER138

Mariarosa Dalla Costa, “Reproduction and Emigration,” Zerowork 3 (1984).

Jean Guyot, Ruth Padrun, et al, Des Femmes Immigres Parlent (Paris: L’Harmattan-CETIM, 1977).

Michel Oriol, “Sur la dynamique des relations communautaires chez les immigres d’origine Nord-Africaine,” Peuples Mediterraneens 18 (January-March 1982).

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.