Abstract

Male out-migration from rural to urban areas has amplified worldwide in the face of economic globalisation. Migration literature for long has engaged with the life of migrants at the destination and their support for the left-behind families in the form of remittances. Explicit scholastic undertaking for the left-behind women and their life experiences has started to receive attention only recently. We take stock of the existing literature to examine this social process and debate it within a women empowerment-disempowerment framework. Following a systematic review of the ‘migration left-behind nexus’ literature, we find a clear trend of transformation in the gender role of women everywhere, especially in the form of ‘feminisation of agriculture’. This process is largely moderated by the nature and amount of remittances received at source. The resultant well-being and empowerment of women is shaped by the socio-cultural context within which migration takes place. Both positive and/or negative outcomes for left-behind women are recorded in the literature, although its choice as a conscious decision and its subsequent permanence in a society is debatable. We expect a deeper engagement of future research that takes up the migration-led women empowerment issue within the context of the general social transformation process.