Implications of male migration on female status in the Democratic Republic of Congo
AbstractOver the last three decades, the Democratic Republic of Congo (henceforth DRC) has registered negative economic growth. During the same period the population has grown at an annual rate of three per cent. This combination of negative economic growth and rising population growth has led to numerous social and economic problems. To cope with these problems, families have developed several survival strategies, including male migration to neighbouring countries in search of temporary work. Using qualitative and quantitative data from a 1998 study of married women, this article suggests that male migration increased female status. However, wives often reported conflicts with their in-laws, were overwhelmed by family responsibilities, had difficulties raising children and feared that their husbands might acquire HIV from other women or marry at their place of destination.
Key words: male migration, gender roles, role conflict, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola
Journal of Social Development in Africa Vol.19(2) 2004: 7-24