In this paper, we investigate the impact of male Senegalese international migration on the women who stay behind. We use in-depth interviews undertaken in 2007 with women and men of all ages in a small town where there is substantial male outmigration to Italy. We have two research questions : 1) in what ways do prolonged male absences contribute to redefining left-behind women’s position within the household ? 2) to what extent does this phenomenon contribute to influencing and transforming women’s individual personal aspirations ? Although our results show that migration reinforces some dimensions of traditional male status and domination, there are indications that the migration as a phenomenon will end up shaking up social norms with women rejecting inequalities which have been exacerbated both by migrants’ behaviour and community expectations of these migrants.