Centring gendered narratives of the Indian diaspora

Sandhya Rao Mehta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Coupled with the assumption that diaspora etymologically associates geographical movement with male agency, this study examines the multiple ways in which gender has hitherto remained marginal to the narratives of a diaspora. Studies on the Indian Diaspora have often shown that women have not, traditionally, been active agents, and that the decision of moving is often a male one. This privileges the male narrative at the expense of numerous, undocumented narratives of women who have travelled, forcibly or otherwise, to different parts of the world over the course of the last three centuries. This study investigates existing scholarship on gender and diaspora, focussing on the lacunae of studies on socially disadvantaged women outside the first world. Tracing the rise in diaspora studies over the last three decades, it underlines the manifold ways in which research on the diaspora has been determined by class, thus often rendering invisible a number of women, who add to the national economy by working in the Middle East, and focusing, only briefly, on them as victims of exploitation-as suggested by the mainstream media and government officials. This study calls for a more dynamic approach to the migration of women within the Indian context as it is incorporated into the framework of diaspora studies, centring the various layers of the gendered migrant experience and then moving on-beyond the binaries of the narratives of the victims.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen in the Indian Diaspora
Subtitle of host publicationHistorical Narratives and Contemporary Challenges
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9789811059513
ISBN (Print)9789811059506
Publication statusPublished - Dec 5 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Centring gendered narratives of the Indian diaspora'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this