International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 326

Full Length Research Paper

‘Left-behind’ women of migrant-men: Rethinking agency and autonomy of women in rural Bangladesh

Main Uddin
  • Main Uddin
  • Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Jagannath University, Bangladesh.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 17 November 2021
  •  Accepted: 05 January 2022
  •  Published: 31 January 2022


This paper details the changes in the agency and autonomy of left-behind women of international migrant-men exploring continuity and changes in the discourse and systems of traditional gender roles of a village in rural Bangladesh. It sheds light on the pattern of trans-border communication of the women and their mobility in the locality and subsequent changes in gender relations. Through ethnographic fieldwork, this paper examined how women rearrange their culturally constructed boundaries and meanings of their gender.  This study also explored whether these changes are temporal for the migration period and what happens when husbands return permanently. The study followed the post-structural and intersectional feminist approaches and suggested that men’s migration creates a situation where some women get the advantages of widening their room for manoeuvre, which may be sustained after the return of their spouse.  


Key words: Agency, autonomy, mobility, migration, manoeuvre.