Home About the DRC Research Partners Publications News/Events Links Contact us
  More About or or

> All research projects

Types of Migration
Internal Migration
Global Labour Mobility
Child Migration
Skilled Migration
Forced Migration
Return Migration

Key Themes
Modelling Causes
and Consequences
Links between Migrations
Rural Poverty and Livelihoods
Social Protection
Gender and Generations
Health and Education

UK / international
Albania / Eastern Europe
Ghana / Africa
Egypt / the Middle East
Bangladesh and
South Asia




Project 3e
Gender Differences in Migration Opportunities: Implications for Educational Choices and Outcomes

The choices made about migration are both gendered and contextual. Who goes and who stays, the use of remittances and the length of migration period, for example, are influenced by gender and place. In much of South Asia today the success of rural education is seen in terms of the export of youth for ‘better employment’ in urban areas. Implicit in the notion of schooling is the enhancement of human capital as a mobile asset that provides a gateway to a ‘better quality of life’.

An important consequence of globalisation has been the enhancement, in many instances, of social, educational and economic inequalities. While those with a minimum asset base, both in terms of material and human capabilities, have been able to take advantage of the new context to improve their situation, those lacking such assets have been driven to forms of distress migration, moving here and there, often in family groups, for their very survival (Mosse et al. 2002). The main objective of this research is to explore how far migration opportunities provide an incentive to complete secondary schooling and gender differences associated with this. In order to do so, the study maps out different kinds of migration flows, such as distress migration, migration to factories or farms producing for global markets, through contracting marriages with higher status groups etc. Some of these migration flows have existed for generations, but the challenge is to understand whether globalisation, or indeed the liberalisation of the economy, as in the case of India, has created new opportunities or pressures, which act as incentives for completing secondary education.

Key Research Questions

Dot • What are the migration opportunities available to boys and girls comparing the different experiences of globalisation in India and Bangladesh? Where are these opportunities located – close to the locality, distant urban centre, or abroad?
Dot In what ways do State structures and processes help or hinder female and male internal and international migration?
Dot To what extent do these migration choices reflect ‘distress’ and to what extent do they constitute a positive choice of preferred occupation?
Dot Have perceptions about migration and what it consists of changed over time?
Dot What are the current aspirations of men and women in relation to migration opportunities?
Dot How far do these provide an incentive or a disincentive to higher education outcomes for boys and girls?
Dot How far are migrant remittances actually invested in improving educational outcomes?
How far does the presence of a migrant (differentiated according to geographical location and duration of migration) contribute to altering social and gender relations, in terms of status and power, in a rural context?



Key Theme(s)
Gender and Generations
Health and Education

Type(s) of Migration
Global Labour Mobility
Internal Migration


Ann Whitehead

Nitya Rao (UEA)
Janet Seeley (UEA)

Key Activities


A pilot study will be undertaken in the first instance to conduct a review of the literature and sharpen the research questions, to identify a suitable village-level sample frame, and to test data collection methods. A report on the pilot will be presented at a workshop bringing together UK-based experts in the area, and the main phase of the study will commence subsequent to that.

Key Outputs

Research paper

Two DRC Working Papers

An article in an academic journal

Dissemination activities at the local level

Policy briefing

Presentation of work at international fora


  © University of Sussex 2003 Text-Only
MDW Site design: Meta Design Work Ltd.
With thanks to IOM and Claudia Natali for the photographs