Call for Papers: extended to 30 June 2019


Transnational Migration, Gender and Sexuality in the Global South

Transnational migration reconfigures how we understand gender and migration in the broader field of migration studies, while giving pre-eminence to scholarship in the Global North. Globally, South to South migration is on the increase with a decline in South to North migration as the rise in right wing nationalism, racism and anti-immigration posturing grips cities in the Global North. While the Global North welcomes the migration of specific groups of skilled professionals where prospects offered by the labour markets exist, in contrast, less skilled workers and unskilled workers, actively supported by their governments, migrate to the Global South in the hope of securing employment prospects and education rather than face ‘underemployment’ at home. For many migrants in the informal sector, out migration is seen as a form of upward mobility. The increased mobility of women in South to South migration raises questions for how we understand temporal dimensions of mobility, how migrants reconstitute and renegotiate their gendered identity and roles in their everyday lives. Current migration theories fail to adequately deal with the gendered aspects of international migration, partly because of the assumption that most migrants are men, and women are their dependents. The broader migration scholarship acknowledges that women migrants are considerably disadvantaged in contrast to their fellow male migrants, and face various levels of vulnerabilities, such as violence, social exclusion, economic exclusion and exploitation.


The recent flows of skilled and unskilled, documented and undocumented migration to South Africa has increased. While men have predominated in the flows of migration streams to South Africa, the feminisation of migration has increased the visibility and role of women migrating independently. For many women, migration allows for upward social mobility, economic independence and greater autonomy. While various feminist scholars have generally demonstrated how gender is differentiated and gender hierarchies reinforce traditional gender stereotypes, they (feminist scholars) have been slow in the uptake of casting a feminist lens on migration studies. In particular, feminist scholarship in the Global South has neglected the social reproduction of gender in transnational spaces. For example, the impact of migration on skilled women warrants attention in the migration literature. Characterised as trailing spouses, minimal attention is given to how mobility is negotiated between the spouses, the impact of mobility on the family and the influence of transnational families on migrants. Even less is said about the transnational spaces that they occupy. Whilst travelling far from home, migrants still maintain and retain transnational links to the family, through economic, political, religious and familial ties. What is the impact of the increase in women who migrate independently on the household; migrants’ access to financial resources; on the family; on remittances; their relationship with children left behind; and on their spouses?

Finally, the role of sexuality in gender and migration research is not given the pre-eminence it should be, especially in the Global South. Given the normative gendered dimensions of migration, the role of sexuality is often subsumed and hidden, adding another layer of vulnerability to the identity of migrant. How are sexuality and migration shaped and reshaped by one another? We invite papers that address any of the following:

  • Theorising migration from the Global South
  • Social, political and/or legislative issues regarding sexual orientation and migration
  • Reframing theories of migration from a decolonial perspective
  • Transnational migration in the global south
  • The influence of transnational family ties on families in the diaspora
  • Living conditions and agency among migrant women and families
  • Inserting feminism into migration studies in the Global South
  • Gender and sexuality in migration
  • The role of sexuality in the future of gender and migration research
  • Experiences of transnationalism through digitally mediated relationships

Timeline and Submission


Papers should be submitted between 1 April and 30 June 2019. Please consult Gender Questions’ Guide For Authors ( before submitting. Manuscripts should be submitted to the journal online (, where you can select the special issue portal. Papers should be no more than 8 000 words, inclusive of notes and bibliography, prepared for anonymous review, and accompanied by an abstract of no more than 200 words. In addition to articles, submissions to the Musings section are encouraged. These should not exceed 3 000 words, including footnotes and references.


For more information about the special issue or to ask about the suitability of your paper, please contact the editors, Pragna Rugunanan (, Chantelle Gray van Heerden ( and Deirdre Byrne (