On the basis of nominal data from local foreigners’ files, this article examines gender differences in the trajectories of more than 3,000 single foreign newcomers to Antwerp between 1850 and 1880. The data demonstrate an overall expansion, ruralization, and feminization of the migration field over time, attuned to the evolution of the port town’s dual labor market. Foreign single women were less specialized than their skilled male counterparts and immigrated in large numbers only toward the end of the period under study, supported by the facilitation of travel via rail. Engaged in a catch-up process as well as in the founding of new patterns of migration, single female migrants emerge from this study as both followers and pioneers. By highlighting the latter’s dual role, the results shed new light on gender stereotypes in migration research and on the oft-assumed connection between migration distance and occupational specialization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-80
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Migration History, Urban History, Antwerp, 19th century

ID: 18485508