Kochi: Kerala may be facing a unique kind of brain drain - one of the educated, feminine ilk. As per the finding of the recently-concluded Kerala Migration Survey 2011 by the Centre for Development Studies, for every 100 women in the state, a significantly high 33 relocate to other cities.
Out of those who choose to make a living outside Kerala, 51 women per 100 are in the 20-24 age category. Any argument that many of these women migrate post-marriage holds no water as 69 per cent of women who shift outside Kerala are unmarried. A surprising finding is the fact that more women than men with MPhil and PhD degrees opt for offers from outside the state. For every five men of these qualifications who leave Kerala, there are 13 women moving out of the state.
The study, carried out by S Irudaya Rajan and K C Zachariah of CDS, is based on data collected from 15,000 households selected through random sampling covering all 63 taluks of the state.
As per the Migration Survey 2011, for every 100 women in the state, a significantly high 33 relocate to other cities.
Pointing out that the growing problem of the unemployability of the educated in the state is due to a mismatch between academic curriculums and skills needed on the job, Irudaya Rajan says, “Unless we provide better economic packages and working environment to youngsters, the internal migration will continue.”
Sugathakumari, poet, activist and former chairperson of the Kerala State Women’s Commission, says that women have higher levels of work satisfaction and better work environment outside the state.
“Today’s society is driven by ambition. The younger generation is career-minded; money is an important factor too. It is evident that people will move to better paying jobs and higher standards of living even if it means leaving one’s home. For the job of a housemaid, a woman is paid Rs 5,000 here while the same job fetches Rs 15,000 across the borders,” says Sugathakumari.
Though nursing continues to lure most women from the state beyond its borders, Kerala has been losing a good number of women accountants, doctors, advocates and even entrepreneurs. Also, there are more women than men working in financial sectors, personnel departments and other allied services outside Kerala.
To offset this steady drain on human resource, Rajan says there may be one avenue -the emigrants in the 40s, who choose to return home.