Gender Differences in Naturalization among Congolese Migrants in Belgium. Why Are Women More Likely to Acquire Belgian Citizenship?

Bruno D. Schoumaker, Université Catholique de Louvain
Andonirina Rakotonarivo, Facultés Universitaires Notre Dame de la Paix

The number of Congolese migrants who have acquired Belgian citizenship has increased drastically (quadrupled) since the early 1990s. Interestingly, males and females migrants have not contributed to the same extent to the increasing trend in acquisition of Belgian citizenship: females have been significantly more likely to acquire Belgian citizenship. In this paper, we explore gender differences in naturalization among migrants from DR Congo in Belgium. First, we measure gender differences in probabilities of acquiring Belgian citizenship using two data sources (population register and survey among Congolese migrants in Belgium). We then test several hypotheses to explain the higher rate of naturalization among Congolese women compared to their male counterparts (vulnerability hypothesis, requirements hypothesis, return hypothesis). This is done using a quantitative biographic survey among Congolese migrants (MAFE survey) and in-depth interviews with 20 Congolese migrants (half males and half females, half with Congolese nationality and half with Belgian nationality).

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Presented in Poster Session 4