Race and Patriarchy: Gender and Migration in South Africa during and after Apartheid

Holly E. Reed, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research

Apartheid was not only a racial project, but also a patriarchal project that encouraged family separation. Black men and women in South Africa had different experiences under the apartheid regime, although they did not always follow patriarchal and racial laws. There is not much good historical data about gender differences in migration in South Africa, so I use a unique data set that includes life histories for a nationally representative sample of the black population to investigate the impact of apartheid on men’s and women’s migration. I find that both women and men became increasingly likely to move over time, both during and after apartheid. Women were more likely to move with their families, contrary to conventional wisdom and unlike migration patterns in other contexts. Women didn't move at the same rates as men, but this paper shows that despite apartheid, both women and men were moving as families.

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Presented in Session 5: International and Internal Migration in Developing Countries