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This paper focuses on the heterogeneity of female mobility and investigates whether human and social capital play different roles in women's independent versus spousal reunification migration. Using longitudinal data from a recent survey on migration between Africa and Europe, we compare the drivers of mobility of Congolese and Senegalese women. Based on discrete-time hazard models, we find that education and access to migrant networks are especially important in the likelihood of moving independently of a partner. Furthermore, different types of ties (excluding the migrant partner) are influential in the two forms of mobility. Female networks play a crucial role in independent migration but are less instrumental in triggering reunification. The differences between the two types of moves are however, more accentuated in Senegal than in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We relate this to the more rigid patriarchal norms restricting female autonomy in Senegal, both in terms of mobility and economic activity.

More information


Journal article


Journal of Intercultural Studies

Publication Date



34 (5)


533 - 552

Total pages



Female Migration, Female Mobility, Gendered Migration, Autonomous Migration, Migration Networks, Family Reunification Migration, Senegal, Democratic Republic of the Congo