Based on a mixed-methods approach using the 2006–2007 Morocco Living Standards Measurement Survey and qualitative interviews, this article examines the distinct roles that international migration and remittances play in female labor force participation (FLFP) in origin-country households and discusses the implications in terms of women’s empowerment. We find that having an emigrant among household members increases FLFP for a given household, while receiving remittances decreases it. However, these effects are significant only for unpaid family work, that is, a category of work unlikely to lead to any form of economic empowerment. Although previous studies sometimes hypothesized that emigration could drive gender-sensitive development at origin, the quantitative and fieldwork findings suggest that, while paid work remains a route to female empowerment, predominantly male emigration is unlikely to play a positive role in supporting women’s access to income-generating activities in a society characterized by strong patriarchal gender norms and poor job opportunities.
- SPS Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice