Globally, migration is a diversifying phenomenon deeply affecting not only lives of more than 200 million migrants, but also the lives of people who connected to them, in particular those left behind in the countries of origin. However, most of researchers mainly focus on impact of migration on left-behind older parents and children. A very few studies look at left-behind wives who do not migrate themselves but are vulnerable due to migration process. In many cases, the wives of migrants take care of migrants’ parents and children. While the role of remittances in economy development of sending communities had already received much attention, social and cultural consequences of international migration, particularly on left-behind wives, have not been adequately explored. This study aims at investigating the impact of husband’s international migration on autonomy of left-behind wives in rural areas of Magway region, central Myanmar, where women are still subordinate to men. Magway region is situated in central dry zone of Myanmar where 85% of rural poor people lived in. According to 2014 Myanmar housing census, young adult male migrants from Magway region are predominantly going overseas compared to border areas. This study will focus on several migration-related factors, which may facilitate or constrain changes in economic, household decision-making power and freedom of physical movement contributing to women autonomy. The study hypothesizes that the absence of husband from household leads to change in the roles and in decision-making power of left-behind women. Insights on left-behind women and their autonomy in the context of international migration of young men can be used at all levels of policy makers to overcome constraints and help render migration into a more positive strategy for poverty alleviation and overall rural development plan through gender implications.
Moderator: Mr. Farid Khan
January 18, 2017