Gender, choice and migration: household dynamics and urbanisation in Mozambique

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dc.contributor.author Raimundo, Ines Macamo
dc.date.accessioned 2010-03-02T07:49:06Z
dc.date.available 2010-03-02T07:49:06Z
dc.date.issued 2010-03-02T07:49:06Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/7585
dc.description.abstract ABSTRACT Very little empirical research has been done on migration in Mozambique and the existing material emphasizes labour migration. Migrants are an essential component of international, regional and national economies and a significant channel of the flow of labour. However, there are scholars who have conventionally perceived migration as a negative with respect to its relationship with development, rapid urbanisation; its resulting consequences and their impact upon the household structure. While it is true cities perhaps offer more advantages – better economic conditions and amenities – in reality they become a detriment reducing theirs group’s capacity to maintain a level of satisfaction. Conversely, because of migration into urban areas, rural areas become depopulated and register a decline in the labour force. Still, there is positive insight to be gained about migration. Through remittances, migrant workers provide money and goods to those who are left behind. Poor family members who remain at home use the cash to pay for services such as healthcare, education, agricultural tools, small enterprises, water tanks, solar panel, irrigation schemes, etc. The migration process is begins with a motive or reason. This means a decision is taken: move or not to move, based upon a complex set of factors. Such factors may involve many people, households and families or the community; and all depend on the circumstances in which the decision is made. Also, their level of knowledge of opportunities and localities to go to or avoid is very important for any decision connected with migration. Lastly, the decision to relocate or not depends upon the judgements of individuals or groups about migration being the right thing to do under circumstances. It must be remembered – such a decision may or not be the correct thing to do, from someone else’s perspective. From this point, I drove my research to understand how the decision to migrate occurs. My investigation took into account, the household’s structure and how gender relations have been built as well as the extent to which this migration has contributed for urbanization. In Mozambique, there was an increase in female migrant between the first post-independence national census of 1980 and the second national census of 1997. There are, however, visible geographic differences of the locality of rural-urban migration in relation to the place of origin for these women. In Maputo, capital of Mozambique, there is an evident increase in women from southern part of the country but considerably fewer numbers originate from the north. Some justify it is the distance that makes the difference. The reasoning is: the distance from the furthest Northern Province to Maputo is about 2,700 km. This thesis demonstrates that beyond the issue of distance and weak transportation facilities, there are other influential factors which also contribute to the creation of those differences. Therefore, these factors are analysed within this thesis. Most of the conclusions I advance in this thesis were made possible through understanding the gender construction in Mozambique – within the context of the changes which have occurred over the thirty years since independence. In fact, a married woman from the south of the Zambezi River, a patrilineal society was not able to make any decision without the authorization of the husband or husbands’ relatives. This is because she was owned by her husband as he had made the payment of lobolo. The act of paying lobolo gives the husband the right to decide everything about his wife’s life – including authorization to do businesses, travel, and so on. In the north, the situation is the exact opposite. The migration of women commenced with the beginning of the liberation war in 1964. At that time, many girls joined the FRELIMO’s guerrillas, usually following orders from their parents and/or following their boyfriends.. In reality, for these women as well as for their parents, it was not an easy decision to take. Northern Mozambique is a matrilineal and highly Islamic society, where women do not have free mobility unless in specific situations such as war. Approximately 148 people were interviewed about their life histories. Focus Group Discussions made it possible to obtain a clear picture of gender migration in Mozambique. The thesis shows some considerable differences in how the decision to migrate occurs within the household in both the southern and northern regions of the country. The thesis concludes by stating that migration in Mozambique is firstly a continuation of traditional routes of trade and labour migration in both northern and southern Mozambique. Secondly, in northern Mozambique, the overall trend of migration into the city capital is still low. This is due to the great travel distance. However other influencing factor is the northern region’s strong connection of the regional economy with bordering countries to the north – Tanzania and Malawi. Thirdly this thesis demonstrates that in northern Mozambique, women are still tied by patriarchy norms with a little evidence of the impact of past-independence events. Fourthly, women from southern Mozambique have gained relative freedom to move from their homelands without previous agreements with in-laws. Lastly, the thesis demonstrates that post independence events have changed the structure of households and way of life matters including migration. This is done outside the traditional structure of the household greatly impacting southern Mozambican culture. As far I could ascertain in this research, it is a fact that women’s migration and gender relations in Mozambique must be analysed in reference to a specific space and chronological contexts. This is due to several lifestyle adaptations over the course of 30 years of independence which have influenced women – either directly or their households. Additional outside influences, such as global economic changes also impact the lives of female migrants in Mozambique. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.title Gender, choice and migration: household dynamics and urbanisation in Mozambique en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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