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African Migrant Women


The project aims to develop a line of research based on the central theme of African immigrant women in Europe and Africa with respect to ethnicity, consanguineous marriage, gender, age, aesthetic and body in general and the impact of the practices of polygamy and “replacing” spouses.

On the margins of the EU, African women migrants can be important transmitters of social cultural practices.  But in certain societies of immigration (France, Spain) these women, because of the ageing factor can be victims of some kind of discrimination. Often their husbands can replace them for new co-spouses. This situation creates tensions which is, for them, all the more constraining and painful when they carry on a productive and reproductive activity.

This project through anthropological demography methodology, wants to analyse meaningful motions of ethnicity, transnationalization, gender and the changing context in relation to aesthetic and body concepts of African women in the settlement countries mainly in Spain and France (Europe) and in Senegal and Gambia (Africa).

Employing statistical data and qualitative data, this project centres on the under-explored subject of African immigrant women in Spanish, French, Senegalese and Gambian societies.

The principal conceptual contribution will be to explore the experiences of these migrants by connecting them to a vast panel of debate on the links between migration and gender, the Ageing theory and the shape of the co-spouses’ substitution and resistance. In accordance with this key objective, the research will present empirical analysis on the role and experience of African migrant women based on evidence gathered from locality-samples in the four quoted societies.

In Europe, France and Spain have witnessed the emergence of these new underground practices, namely avoidance and substitution often imposed on ageing African women by their husbands. Immigration, its context and the ageing factor put to the test the physical body of the immigrant women as much as their social body. It is important to analyse these new behaviours following a psychosocial and sociological approach.

To examine this phenomenon, the project seeks to study the topic in two European receiving countries (Spain and France) and two African sending ones (Senegal and Gambia).



Project contact: Dr Papa Sow, Marie Curie Fellow