Gendered Migration and the Urban Informal Sector: A Case Study of Mwanza City, Tanzania

  • GF Masanja


This study examined gendered migration patterns in Mwanza City, Tanzania as well as the impacts of differentials of men’s and women’s migration on their absorption in the urban informal sector, their access to assets, adaptation to city life and their livelihood and also their role in development of origin areas. The study employed a combination of Participatory appraisal methods, cross-sectional and causal comparative research design. The study sample comprised of 400 male and female urban migrants. Findings showed that for temporary marginal men migrants, reasons to move were strongly associated with ‘push’ factors rather than ‘pull’ factors. By contrast, their women counterparts’ decision to move was greatly determined by personal/family issues and situations. Social networks played a key role in men’s and women’s migration. However, men migrants relyed more on such close ties as friends and kinsmen, whereas women migrants relyed more on gendered social networks harbouring city-village ties in their migration process and adaptation into city life. The differences in employment absorption in the informal sector as well as upward occupational mobility between men and women migrants resulted from gender roles. Female migrants tended to find employment earlier than males (mainly in the informal sector) due to their willingness to accept lower wages. The disparity between the sexes on access to assets and property was very minimal. Despite female migrants’ low levels of education and working in low profile occupations, they almost universally sent home a higher proportion of their incomes than male migrants.

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eISSN: 0856-6739