IOM has called on the international community to promote safe migration for women in rural areas. This should include the prevention of trafficking in human beings, the facilitation of rural women's access to reliable legal migration information, identity and travel documents, as well as migration services.
In a message to mark International Women's Day 2012, IOM said that more women than ever before are joining the ranks of the world's migrants to support their families and improve their economic status.
As migrants, IOM said, they face unique challenges – none more so than the rural women who are the focus of this year's International Women's Day.
Despite growing gender equality and the empowerment of women, rural women, who represent about a quarter of the world's population, still suffer from the lowest incomes, the least education, and less political and social influence than either rural men or urban populations.
Rural women are more vulnerable than other migrant groups and therefore require greater protection from all states committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society, IOM said.
The organisation asked the international community to promote a better regulation of the migration of domestic and care workers in the countries of origin, and to promote protection mechanisms and adequate conditions of employment in the countries of destination.
IOM also called for promotion of gender-sensitive pre-departure orientation programmes for future migrants, including those engaged in transnational marriage migration.
The international community should provide gender-sensitive humanitarian assistance to rural women in emergency settings, including natural disasters, and promote the full participation of women in community-based strategies to adapt to climate change and environmental degradation, IOM said.
IOM also asked the international community to promote rural women's full enjoyment of their human rights and effective access to redress and justice in case of gender-based violence or exploitation.
Victims of violence and abuse should be provided assistance including return and reintegration options.
IOM also urged the international community to promote migrant workers' access to affordable health and social services, including sexual and reproductive health services.
The international community should also foster interstate dialogue and enhance bilateral, regional, interregional and international cooperation to better regulate and protect women migrant workers and promote gender-sensitive international migration policies, IOM said.