Contestations for Left Behind Males through Transnational Relationships? Gender, remittances, houshold roles & transnational spousal relations in Kumasi, Ghana
This study has focussed on gender differences in remittance behavior on both sending and receiving side, and the influence of migration of the spouse and consequential remittance behavior on genderdifferentiated household roles and spousal relations, whereby both qualitative and quantitative data were retrieved from a cross-sectional non-probability sample of both male and female resident spouses in Kumasi, Ghana. In this study it is argued that left-behind males are challenged in their masculinity and may show difficulties in adaptation concerning individual aspects such as responsibilities, practical changes, time management and the lack of development of household skills. Through the transnational relationship with their migrated female spouse, they may also experience a loss of power, either because their masculin role as principal provider is weakened – invoking a negative self-image – or because they may experience a decline in status from their social environment. Such contestations may be, even in their hardest attempt, a dent in their identity as they are forced to let go of their role as principal provider and have to negotiate a lower position in the spousal power and decision-making divisions while their migrated female spouse comes into contact with a culture with more feminist characteristics than theirs, possibly identifying and acting on her own desire for changes in gender relations and consequently may gain empowerment in the spousal relationship from two directions. Thus, it is argued that experiences as a left-behind male spouse and the experiences of the female migrant may increase the possibilities for gender equality within the spousal relationship. From the male migrant perspective, this study has shown indications of migrated men exercising their masculine role through transnational communications, through which they may attempt to obtain or maintain their status and identity; something they may lack in the country of migration. It is argued that perhaps, some of these men might be overcompensating their drive for ‘male recognition’ through exercising their power on their household back home. Findings in this study have however also suggested that, seemingly related to a higher education, legal status and occupation, experiences in a different culture have positively changed the amount of respect shown by the male migrants towards their female spouse back home.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen