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Gendering Migrant Remittances: Evidence from Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates



In this study, I explore gender dimensions of remittances under conditions of temporary migration in Asia. This research argues that migrant remittances are influenced by not only gender but also the context of the remittances, and that both should be integrated and elaborated to capture the complexity of remittances and their development dynamics. On the basis of surveys of 150 migrants in the United Arab Emirates and 100 migrant households in Bangladesh, in this study I examine gender dimensions of remittances by linking both sending and receiving points and elaborating on four sites of remittances, where gender matters significantly: (i) the sending process, (ii) the receipt process, (iii) the use and control of remittances and, finally, (iv) the implications for the migrant households. The study reveals several gender-differentiated patterns in remittance behaviour. Female migrants remit a greater share of their earnings than their male counterparts; they prefer sisters to brothers and other family members to husbands, while men prefer brothers to sisters and fathers to wives – and, interestingly, it was males, rather than females, who remitted more to females. Women have more control over remittances than men: in the migrant–spouse remittance route, more regular contact, and consultation and negotiation about management of remittances, are reported. Women show more interest in savings than men: women’s remittances tend to be invested in human capital and those of male recipients in physical capital; more females play the role of principal economic providers for the families than their male counterparts.