Gender differences in labor opportunities can accentuate urban-rural wage gaps if laborers are married and must co-move. We study urban-rural migration in the context of a silk boom, which increased rural women’s incomes, in industrializing Japan, 1910-20. We use large variation in silk cocoon prices, due to its perishability, and an IV approach to show areas with high silk cocoon prices experienced lower out-migration among not only women but also men. This led to a relative decline in male wages, but they remained to maximize household incomes. These findings show that gender divisions of labor can delay structural transformations.