Home Institution

Loyola University Chicago

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


This study aims to understand the various risk factors for suicide among female migrant workers in Nepal. Suicide is the leading cause of death among women in the country, and the prevalence of suicide among migrant women in particular warrants further investigation, especially considering the increasing number of women traveling abroad for foreign employment. What experiences do these women have that would lead to suicidal behavior? What personal and institutional challenges contribute to increased risk of suicide? How does the community respond to their needs? This research was conducted in the Kathmandu Valley, with the majority of data acquired through interviews, personal interactions with returnee migrant women, and field observation. This study found that although migration has empowered Nepali women to become financially and socially independent, it is clear that aspects of foreign employment can be detrimental to the mental and emotional well-being of female migrant workers. Risk factors for suicide exist for women over the course of foreign employment – from their departure to their time abroad, and even after their return to Nepal. Although organizations are working towards safer migration, suicide among female migrant workers deserves careful and proactive consideration, as these women are at risk due to societal and institutional factors widely outside of their control.


Asian Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Mental and Social Health


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