Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Vanaja Nethi

Committee Member

Mary Clisbee


brain drain, gender issues, India, migration patterns, skilled occupations, women


The economic contributions of highly qualified (HQ) labor migrants from developing countries fuel the global talent race. The problem is that little is known about the women in this sought out talent pool. This phenomenological study addressed this neglected gendered dimension by exploring how professional Asian Indian women experienced the following aspects of international migration: (a) gendering international mobility, (b) women and the race for global talent, (c) policies and the labor market, (d) cultural stigma, (e) brain drain versus diaspora networks, and (f) the Asian Indian woman paradox.

Professional Asian Indian women from greater Frankfurt am Main, Germany were recruited though purposive sampling to participate in this phenomenological study. The participants took part in semi-structured interviews that resulted in various themes. These themes emerged from their responses to questions underscoring three research questions: (a) how do HQ migrant women from India experience the global talent race? (b) how do HQ migrant women from India describe their push-pull migration factors? and (c) how do HQ migrant women from India experience social and economic ties between India and the countries they migrate to? The essences behind these themes offered in-depth, gendered understandings about HQ migration determinants based on their lived experiences.

The findings in this qualitative study resulted from an interpretative phenomenological analysis. The participants took part in a total of eleven Skype and telephone interviews. All three participants (a) migrated to Germany from India, (b) held higher tertiary education qualifications, and (c) were experienced professional women between the ages30-70. The analysis revealed ten emergent themes: father figure, expectations, the education advantage, social status, emancipation, the media versus India, diaspora, made for mobility, change and India, and giving back is sensitive.

The research could be a useful source of information for diversity strategists, and talent recruitment leaders of transnational organizations. The findings can further inform multidisciplinary studies about gendered considerations in human capital migration. In addition, the outcomes of this study can serve as an advisory source for highly qualified women from India, and other regions of the global South who aspire for overseas opportunities. Finally, this study can be used as a motivational source for professional migrant woman interested in contributing to transnational socio-economic development.