Exploring Gender and Diaspora Investment Among Diaspora Women in the UK

  • Roda Madziva
  • Juliana Siwale
  • Juliet Thondhlana
Part of the Palgrave Studies of Entrepreneurship in Africa book series (PSEA)


Although the transnational literature on gender, diaspora direct investment and remittances has burgeoned, largely overlooked in this mainstream literature are the ‘behind the scenes’ acts of diaspora women who, apart from their own economic gain, remit to help fund businesses of extended family members in the Country of Origin (COO). In this chapter, we draw on five women’s narratives of their lived experiences of migration to the UK and consequent investment activities in the COO. In so doing, we highlight not only the huge investments that women make in other people’s businesses, but how the act of investing in other people in itself empowers them to search for new and challenging business opportunities in the COO. We conclude by highlighting areas for further research.


  1. Alan, G. (1985). Family life. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. Amoako, E. E., & Apusigah, A. A. (2013). Gender, migration and remittances in Ghana: An overview. Ghana Journal of Development Studies, 10(1–2), 15–43.Google Scholar
  3. Arber, S., Davidson, K., & Ginn, J. (Eds.). (2003). Gender and ageing: Changing roles and relationships. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Artuc, E., Docquier, F., Ozden, C., & Parsons, C. (2015). A global assessment of human capital mobility: The role of non-OECD destinations. World Development, 65(1), 6–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bakewell, O. (2015). Crossing the continent: African diasporas within Africa. In R. Cohen & J. Story (Eds.), The impact of diaspora (pp. 7–10). Oxford: Oxford Diasporas Programme. Available at:
  6. Benson, J. B., Heger, L. L., Sorensen, L. C., & Wise, A. E. (2016). Somali diaspora investment survey report: Typologies, drivers, & recommendations. IFAD. Available at: Accessed 13 Aug 2017.
  7. Boccagni, P. (2012). Practising motherhood at a distance: Retention and loss in Ecuadorian transnational families. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(2), 261–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boly, A., et al. (2014). Diaspora investments and firm export performance in selected sub-Saharan African countries. World Development, 59, 422–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brzozowski, J., Cucculelli, M., & Surdej, A. (2014). Transnational ties and performance of immigrant entrepreneurs: The role of home-country conditions. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 26(7–8), 546–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chase, S. E. (2007). Multiple lenses, approaches, voices. Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials, 57(3), 651–679.Google Scholar
  11. Chinyowa, K. C. (1998). Gender development in Shona literature. In E. M. Chiwome & Z. Gambahaya (Eds.), Culture and development: Perspectives from the south (pp. 164–169). Harare: Mond Books Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Chitauro, M. B. (1995). The role and status of Shona women as revealed in the language of a Shona cultural event. MA thesis, University of Florida.Google Scholar
  13. Chiwome, E. M. (1996). Communication with children on sexual issues. In S. M. Mutsvairo (Ed.), An introduction to Shona Culture (pp. 51–64). Zimbabwe: Juta.Google Scholar
  14. Chrysostome, E. V., & Molz, R. (Eds.). (2014). Building businesses in emerging and developing countries: Challenges and opportunities. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Clemens, M., Özden, Ç., & Rapoport, H. (2014). Migration and development research is moving far beyond remittances. World Development, 64, 121–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Curran, S. R., & Saguy, A. C. (2001). Migration and cultural change: A role for gender and social networks? Journal of International Women’s Studies, 2(3), 54–77. Available at:
  17. Deenen, I., van der Zee, L., & Smith, L. (2015). Contesting gender roles: ‘Left-behind’ migrant spouses in Kumasi, Ghana. In T. van Naerssen, L. Smith, T. Davids, & M. H. Marchand (Eds.), Women, gender, remittances and development in the global south (pp. 67–84). London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  18. Dreby, J. (2009). Honor and virtue: Mexican parenting in the transnational context. Gender and Society, 20(1), 32–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Drori, I., Honig, B., & Wright, M. (2009). Transnational entrepreneurship: An emergent field of study. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 33(5), 1001–1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eagly, A. H., Wood, W., & Diekman, A. B. (2000). Social role theory of sex differences and similarities: A current appraisal. In T. Eckes & H. M. Trautner (Eds.), The developmental social psychology of gender (pp. 123–174). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  21. Elo, M., & Jokela, P. (2014). Social ties, Bukharian Jewish diaspora and entrepreneurship: Narratives from entrepreneurs. In C. Rapoo, M. L. Coelho, & Z. Sarwar. New perspectives in diaspora experience (pp. 143–155). Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.Google Scholar
  22. Faria, J. R., & Sachsida, A. (2012). Demographic dynamics in poor countries: Labour market conditions and gender inequalities. Journal of Development Studies, 48(1), 99–114.Google Scholar
  23. Featherstone, M., & Hepworth, M. (2000). Images of ageing. In J. Bond, P. Coleman, & S. Peace (Eds.), Ageing in society: An introduction to social gerontology. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Grant, R. (2007). Geographies of investment: How do the wealthy build new houses in Accra, Ghana? Urban Forum, 8(1), 31–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Harmon, C., Oosterbeek, H., & Walker, I. (2003). The returns to education: Microeconomics. Journal of Economic Surveys, 17(2), 115–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Harrison, L. A., & Lynch, A. B. (2005). Social role theory and the perceived gender role orientation of athletes. Sex Roles52(3), 227–236.Google Scholar
  27. Helmich, R. (2015). Transnational households and the dynamics of changing gender relations in Sucre, Bolivia. In T. van Naerssen, L. Smith, T. Davids, & M. H. Marchand (Eds.), Women, gender, remittances and development in the global south (pp. 84–98). London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  28. Hofstede, G. (1998). Masculinity and femininity: The taboo dimension of national cultures. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Horton, S. (2009). A mother’s heart is weighed down with stones: A phenomenological approach to the experience of transnational motherhood. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 33(1), 21–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. IOM (International Organization for Migration). (2010). Gender migration and remittances. Geneva: IOM. Available at:
  31. Kapteijns, L. (1999). Women’s voices in a man’s world: Women and the pastoral tradition in Northern Somali orature, c. 1899–1980. Potsmouth, NH: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  32. Kariv, D., Menzies, T. V., Brenner, G. A., & Filion, L. J. (2009). Transnational networking and business performance: Ethnic entrepreneurs in Canada. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development21(3), 239–264.Google Scholar
  33. Kottegoda, S. (2006). Bringing home the money: Migration and poverty in gender politics in Sri Lanka. In S. Arya & A. Roy (Eds.), Women and migration in Asia: Poverty, gender and migration (pp. 49–71). New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Kunz, R. (2015). ‘Moneymaker and mother from afar’: The power of gender myths. In T. van Naerssen, L. Smith, T. Davids, & M. H. Marchand (Eds.), Women, gender, remittances and development in the global south (pp. 199–217). London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  35. Lo, M. S. (2016). En route to New York: Diasporic networks and the reconfiguration of female entrepreneurship in Senegal. Gender, Place and Culture, 23(4), 503–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lutz, E., & Palenga-Mollenbeck, E. (2012). Care workers, care drain, and care chains: Reflections on care, migration, and citizenship. Social Politics, 19(1), 15–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Madziva, R., & Zontini, E. (2012). Transnational mothering and forced migration: Understanding the experiences of Zimbabwean mothers in the UK. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 19(4), 428–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mair, J., & Marti, I. (2009). Entrepreneurship in and around institutional voids: A case study from Bangladesh. Journal of Business Venturing, 24(5), 419–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mashiri, P. (2000). Street remarks, address rights and the urban female: Socio-linguistic politics of gender in Harare. Zambezia, xxvii(i), 55–70. University of Zimbabwe.Google Scholar
  40. McCance, T. V., McKenna, H. P., & Boore, J. R. (2001). Exploring caring using narrative methodology: An analysis of the approach. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 33(3), 350–356.Google Scholar
  41. McGregor, J. (2014). Sentimentality or speculation? Diaspora investment, crisis economies and urban transformation. Geoforum, 56, 172–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Millman, H. L. (2013). Mothering from afar: Conceptualizing transnational motherhood. Totem: The University of Western Ontario Journal of Anthropology, 21(1), 72–82.Google Scholar
  43. Mukama, R. (1995). Gender stereotyping in African languages. In A. Akinlabi (Ed.), Theoretical approaches to African linguistics. Trenton: African World Press.Google Scholar
  44. Mustafa, M., & Chen, S. (2010). The strength of family networks in transnational immigrant entrepreneurship. Thunderbird International Business Review, 52(2), 97–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nkongolo-Bakenda, J. M., & Chrysostome, E. V. (2013). Engaging diasporas as international entrepreneurs in developing countries: In search of determinants. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 11(1), 30–64.Google Scholar
  46. Ollenburger, J. C., & Moore, H. A. (1992). A sociology of women: The intersection of patriarchy, capitalism and colonialisation. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  47. Orozco, M., Lowell, B. L., & Schneider, J. (2006). Gender-specific determinants of remittances: Differences in structure and motivation. Report to the World Bank Group Gender and Development Group, PREM, 1–28.Google Scholar
  48. Pongweni, A. (1996). Shona praise poetry as role negotiation. Gweru: Mambo Press.Google Scholar
  49. Ratha, D., & Plaza, S. (2011). Harnessing diasporas. Finance and Development, 48(3), 48–51. Available at:
  50. Ribeiro, A., Rezaei, S., & Dana, L.-P. (2012). Gender and family in transnational entrepreneurship. International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 8(3), 409–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Riddle, L., & Brinkerhoff, J. (2011). Diaspora entrepreneurs as institutional change agents: The case of International Business Review, 20(6), 670–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Riddle, L., Hrivnak, G. A., & Nielsen, T. M. (2010). Transnational diaspora entrepreneurship in emerging markets: Bridging institutional divides. Journal of International Management, 16(4), 398–411.Google Scholar
  53. Schmidt, E. (1992). Peasants, traders and wives: Shona women in the history of Zimbabwe, 1870–1939. Portsmouth: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  54. Smith, L., & Mazzucato, V. (2009). Constructing homes, building relationships: Migrants investments in houses. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 100, 662–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Shire, C. (1999). Men don’t go to the moon: Language, space and masculinity in Zimbabwe. In A. Cornwall & A. Lindisfarne (Eds.), Debating masculinity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  56. Thondhlana, J. (2010). Language and the social construction of gender roles: Roles in transition. Saarbrücken: Lambert Academic Publishing.Google Scholar
  57. Vaaler, P. M. (2013). Diaspora concentration and the venture investment impact of remittances. Journal of International Management, 19(1), 26–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Van Naerssen, T. (2015). Exploring gender and remittances. In T. van Naerssen, L. Smith, T. Davids, & M. H. Marchand (Eds.), Women, gender, remittances and development in the global south (pp. 48–66). London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  59. West, C., & Zimmerman, D. (1987). Doing gender. Gender and Society, 1(2), 125–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. World Bank. (2017). Remittances to developing countries decline for second consecutive year. Press release. Available at:
  61. Zontini, E. (2010). Transnational families, migration and gender. Moroccan and Filipino women in Bologna and Barcelona. Oxford: Berghahn Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roda Madziva
    • 1
  • Juliana Siwale
    • 2
  • Juliet Thondhlana
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  2. 2.Nottingham Business SchoolNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations