New Publication: Husbands’ migration: increased burden on or more autonomy for wives left behind?

July 28, 2021

Migration of men has important influences on reshaping family and gender roles in left-behind wives. However, it is unclear whether husbands’ out-migration increases the burden on or creates autonomy for left-behind wives. Using new data from Nepal, we examine the associations of husband’s out-migration and remittance status with the work burden and autonomy of left-behind wives’. Results of our multi-level multivariate analyses show that the number of months a husband migrated internationally during the last year is significantly associated with an increase in participation in farming activities for the left-behind wives. Husband’s out-migration and remittance status are also associated with an increase in wives’ number of daily activities outside the home, and leisure activities and media use. In sum, husbands’ out-migration might be good and bad for women, by increasing the burden on wives while also promoting their freedom of movement, leisure activities and media use. Importantly these findings are net of wives’ individual background characteristics, household characteristics and community context measures.