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Exploring mobility and migration in the context of rural-urban linkages: why gender and generation matter

This paper draws from research on rural-urban linkages conducted in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, with particular attention to work in northern Tanzania. The research explored ways in which mobility and migration intersect, changing relations between rural and urban areas, people and activities, and in the process transforming livelihoods and power inequalities at both intra and inter-household levels.

Gender and generation are important factors in the exploration of rural-urban linkages affecting who migrates, their patterns of migration and their reasons for leaving their home settlements as well as continued linkages to their families. The gender and generation lens is crucial to understanding individual experiences but it also enables researchers and policy makers to see households and communities in three rather than two dimensions, with a great diversity of desires and expectations among their members and related power struggles.

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Gender is still largely considered to be about women rather than about a vital dynamic in society. And often gender issues are seen as a concern of the global north. The interlocking of production and social reproduction, the formal and informal sectors, and the constantly evolving relations between men and women, and between younger and older generations, are at the heart of this dynamic. A strong analysis of gender and generation is crucial to understanding power imbalances and being able to influence them.

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Making Gender and Generation Matter