Home Institution

James Cook University

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

Indonesia: Arts, Religion, and Social Change


Internal migration in constantly increasing in Indonesia and the island of Bali is a popular destination for many of these immigrants who wish to try their luck in Bali’s tourism industry. One the most significant trends in internal migration has been the participation of autonomous young women, however, often the migration discourse does not adequately address gender-specific facets. This study explores the expectations and realities of Indonesian women’s internal immigration to Bali and is predominantly, based on qualitative research methods. The study consisted of singular semi-structured interviews with four young women who worked in Bali’s tourism industry in the Badung region. Additionally, field research through informal interviews and observation via participation was conducted with the wider Indonesian population in this region for a relational approach. A postcolonial feminist framework was utilised to recognise women’s intersectional identities and value differences in women’s lives, uncovering agency in their decision to internally migrate. Participants’ reasons to migrate to Bali were largely influenced by optimistic reviews of the tourist destination. However, thematic analysis within participants’ stories of internal immigration demonstrated reasons that were varied and complex. The current context surrounding internal immigrants in Bali was examined with prejudices exposed between both internal immigrants and the local Balinese population. Women’s personal experiences of immigration to a “freer” Bali are discussed through their newfound opportunities and experiences, including ‘freedom of movement’. While generally the women in this study provided a positive assessment of their internal immigration and work within Bali’s tourism industry, the women discussed obstacles and challenges in their acculturation to new and different socio-cultural norms.


Tourism | Women's Studies | Work, Economy and Organizations


Article Location