Migrant Women and Remittances: Exploring the Data from Selected Countries

Authored by: Mehtabul Azam, Yana Rodgers, Michael Stewart-Evans, and Inkeri von Hase

Categories: Global Public Health, Human Rights
Sub-Categories: COVID-19, Economic Participation, Human Development, Migration
Region: No Region
Year: 2020
Citation: Azam, Mehtabul, et al. "Migrant Women and Remittances: Exploring the Data from Selected Countries." The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. 2020.

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Executive Summary

A growing body of work has analyzed the relationship between gender and remittances, but very little is known about the comparative value of the remittances sent by migrant women and men. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are the main sources of data and statistics on remittances, but these are not disaggregated by the sender’s sex. This policy brief is unique in its analysis of data from 11 national household surveys that contain information on remittances received by households and on the senders. The research suggests that the characteristics of migrant women’s remittances may be more nuanced than previously thought, with substantial variations across countries in the proportion of remittances sent by women. Importantly, this research found that while women typically earn less than men and pay more in transfer fees, the average remittance amounts they send are the same as or even greater than those of men. Therefore, the higher average remittance amounts sent by women implies that they tend to remit a larger portion of their earnings than men. The research also showed that women tend to rely more on in-person cash transfer services than do men. When these services become unavailable – as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic – this poses significant barriers for migrant women to send remittances.