Gendering migration and remittances: evidence from London and northern Albania



Within the broad and interlinked fields of gender, migration and development, the gendering of remittances has received very little attention. Yet remittances and their use lie at the heart of the migration–development nexus. This paper develops a gender analysis of Albanian migration to the United Kingdom and its impact on source areas, which are mainly in northern Albania. Based on interviews with 26 Albanian migrants in the London area and with 46 migrant households in northern Albania and in the Tirana area (where many northern households have recently internally migrated), the paper traces gender dynamics in migration and in decisions about the sending, receipt and deployment of remittances, and their potential for poverty alleviation and development in Albania. Despite the potentially ‘modernising’ effects of migration and remittances, ‘traditional’ Albanian gender roles are generally maintained throughout the migration cycle, with only tokenistic changes. Intra-household modifications of the patriarchal power structures of Albanian families through migration and the deployment of remittances are more likely to be generational – father to sons – rather than gender-related. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.