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Gender and remittances in Albania: Or why 'Are women better remitters than men?' is not the right question

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posted on 2023-06-07, 17:14 authored by Russell King, Julie Vullnetari
There are abundant literatures on linkages between migration, remittances and development, between gender and migration, and between gender and development. The missing link in this set of overlapping literatures is gender and remittances. Thus far, some studies have tried to determine whether female migrants are 'better' remitters than men: results are mixed. But this is not the right question. It is more important to explore how gender relations shape the sending, receipt and utilisation of remittances; and how, in turn, the remittance process reshapes gender relations. This paper takes the case of recent Albanian migration to neighbouring Greece one of post-communist Europe's largest cross-border migrations to illustrate how the patriarchal nature of the sending society, Albania, fundamentally shapes both the gendered pattern of migration and its equally gendered corollary, remittances. Based on questionnaire survey (n=350) and in-depth interview (n=45) data from fieldwork in rural south-east Albania and the Greek city of Thessaloniki, it is shown that the male-structured process of migration hardly allows women to remit, even when they are earning in Greece. Typologies of household-to-household remittances are developed. Interview data reveals that migration to Greece, and its attendant remittance flows, does give, within limits, increased agency to women within both the migrant and residual households, but things are on the whole slow to change.


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University of Sussex

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Sussex Centre for Migration Research, Working Paper 58.

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