Gendered Dynamics of Remitting and Remittance Use in Northern Ghana
Teye, Joseph Kofi
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Until recently, the relationship between gender and remittances has received little attention in academic and policy circles. The majority of earlier studies, which largely employed quantitative approaches, suggest clear, gendered patterns of remitting and remittance use in various societies. In recent years, a body of literature has emerged which shows that the relationship between gender and remittances is shaped by social norms of household provisioning. However, most analyses on the relationship between gender and remitting behaviour give too much weight to structure over agency and therefore fail to examine how the relationship between gender and the sending of remittances is mediated by the household context and agency of household members. Drawing on qualitative data collected in Northern Ghana, which is largely a migrant sending region, and one migrant destination (the Greater Accra region), this paper contributes to the emerging body of literature on social norms and the gendered dynamics of remitting and remittance use. In contrast to earlier studies which suggest that there are clear gendered patterns of remitting and remittance use in the different societies, we argue that the relationship between gender and remitting/remittance use is more complex and is shaped by the interaction of social norms on household provisioning, the composition of households and the agency of household members. We demonstrate that, while social norms on gender roles and conjugality tend to produce gendered patterns of remitting, the household context and the agency of the individual household members may sometimes interact to produce remitting behaviours that are not consistent with the general patterns observed in the community.