Abstract Based on research conducted in a migrant-sending community in south-eastern Mexico, we find that male out-migration has forced women to take on labour tasks that are associated with new spatial and mobility patterns. While these patterns have potential for increased empowerment for women, they also call the women’s morality into question, resulting in a policing of the women’s behaviour, and a simultaneous restriction of their mobility, by themselves and others. Therefore, we find male labour out-migration has resulted in contradictory changes in women’s mobility, with ambiguous results for women’s gender empowerment.
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