CYGNA: Gender & Migration

Reports on our 48th meeting with two book launches and a discusion on advancing migration research in Business & Management

Since founding CYGNA in 2014 we have had 30 physical meetings in London-based universities. When COVID-19 hit, we moved meetings online and ran 16 virtual meetings between May 2020 and March 2022. From 2022-2023 onwards we are planning half of our meetings online and half on campus, with a full-day event in May. For our first full-day event in May 2022 see: CYGNA: Positionality, team roles, and academic activism

Our 48th meeting, superbly organised by Ling Eleanor Zhang, ESCP London (top row, third from right) focused on a topic close to all of hearts: Gender & Migration. Even though this was not intentional, 95% of CYGNA members are academics who work in a country different from their birth country, with many of us having worked and lived in at least three countries. So we were very pleased that Ling and Aida brought together a stellar group of speakers to talk about gender & migration from a research perspective.

We had 34 attendees attending (part of) the 2-hour meeting, 29 of which can be seen above. As has become common during the pandemic, we had many international members joining us, including from Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain. Nearly half of the participants were from outside the UK. We also welcomed several new attendees, most of whom had only recently joined CYGNA: Cristina Popescu, Emine Acar, Jessica Waedt, Shilan Fuad, Shirley Tay, and Vilmante Kumpikaite-Valiuniene.

Book Launch: Gender & Migration

The first book launch was by my Middlesex University Law School colleagues Anastasia Christou and Eleonore Kofman. They presented their open access reader on Gender & Migration, published by Springer. As most CYGNA members work in Business & Management, they very much enjoyed getting an insight into migration from a Sociology, Politics, and Public Policy perspective.


Anastasia Christou, Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Criminology and Sociology, Middlesex University. As an interdisciplinary critical scholar exploring issues of identity, emotion, intersectionality, decoloniality, feminist pedagogies, social justice, exclusions in migrant / minority / youth / ageing groups, for decades Anastasia conducted research in North America and Europe, recently engaging in collaborative research in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Key publications related to this meeting’s topic are:

Eleonore Kofman, Professor of Gender, Migration and Citizenship and co-Director of the Social Policy Research Centre, Middlesex University London, works  on theoretical and policy aspects of gendered migrations, especially in relation to global family and skilled migrations, care and social reproduction,  and  on the  unequal  circulation and production of knowledge in migration studies.  

Key publications related to this meeting’s topic are:


Why has it been important to incorporate gender relations into our understanding of migration processes and to engender migration research? The need to do so does not only stem from the fact that women globally make up just under half of international migrants. Gender is one of the key forms of differentiation within societies which interacts with other social divisions such as age, class, ethnicity, nationality, race, disability and sexual orientation.

The drivers of migration impact on women and men differently. Women and men circulate distinctively, whether it be between rural and urban areas, intra-regionally or globally. Labour markets are often highly segregated and the possibility of women and men crossing borders may also be restricted or opened up through gendered discourses, practices, and regulations governing the right to move and under what conditions. Migration may in turn change gender relations within households and in the community and impact on gendered and sexual identities.

Book Launch: Transnational Diaspora Entrepreneurship

The second book launch was by long-term CYGNA member Maria Elo. It involved a forthcoming research handbook transnational diaspora entrepreneurship, marrying perspectives from Entrepreneurship, Migration Studies, and Geography, published by Edward Elgar Publishing. The slides of Maria's presentation can be found here. For details on publishing research handbooks and monographs with Edward Elgar, see: CYGNA: The wonderful world of book publishing.


Maria Elo, Associate Professor, Department of Business & Management, University of Southern Denmark, works on international business, -entrepreneurship and -migration with topics such as internationalization, resources of skilled migrants and returnees, migrant and diaspora entrepreneurship, transnational and family businesses, language, diaspora networks, diaspora investment and remittances. Maria is the founder of the Diaspora Networks in International Business research platform.

Key publications related to this meeting's topic are:


This comprehensive Research Handbook provides insights into entrepreneurship across a range of country contexts, migration corridors and national policies to provide a collection of conceptual, empirical and policy-focused findings addressing transnational diaspora entrepreneurship. Chapters illustrate the phenomenon of transnational diaspora entrepreneurship, considering what it is, how it works and how it is regulated.

Contributions from top scholars in the field underline the view that transnational diaspora entrepreneurship is a socio-cultural as well as an economic phenomenon of increasing worldwide relevance in shifting economic, technological and political landscapes. Conceptual and methodological developments are presented from multiple perspectives, embedding unique country- and- context-based empirical research. 

Advancing Migration Research in Business & Management

Aida Hajro and Milda Žilinskaitė presented Migration, Business and Society, gave an overview of current research on migration in business and management and discussed open questions for future research. The slides of their presentation can be found here.


Aida Hajro, Centre for International Business, University of Leeds, UK. Aida Hajro is a Professor in International Business and Director of the Centre for International Business at the University of Leeds (CIBUL). Her research addresses how multinational corporations tackle migration-specific targets.

Milda Žilinskaitė, Vienna University, Austria. Milda Žilinskaitė is a Senior Scientist and Manager at the Competence Center for Sustainability Transformation and Responsibility, Vienna University of Economics and Business, and a visiting faculty at the International Anti-Corruption Academy. Her research foci include labor migration, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and business ethics.

Key publications related to this meeting's topic are:


Migration, Business & Society is a global network of scholars, business practitioners, and human rights experts, dedicated to the generation and exchange of knowledge on the topic of migration. This is the first initiative of its kind that aims at uniting academic and corporate efforts toward tackling migration-specific targets as reflected in the SDGs of the UN Agenda 2030.

Break-out rooms

After the presentations, we broke up into three break-out rooms so that CYGNA members could get to know each other a little better. Animated discussions were had in each of the three rooms. Unfortunately, I only have a picture of my break-out room. 

All in all, the meeting was a great launch of our 9th year of CYGNA meetings. Looking forward to seeing many of you again on 17 November 2022 for a session on How to manage individual research performance: evidence-based insights.

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