Course Name: Kristina M�nd-Lakhiani – The Female Perspective
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“This article shows that a family perspective is especially important for the analysis of female migration because: (1) women are major participants in ‘family migration’ as defined by governments and, although they benefit from family reunification provisions, they are also constrained by them; (2) migrant women are important economic actors and their participation in economic activity is closely related to the needs of their families, so that the choices that migrant women make regarding work cannot be understood without taking into account the situation of their families and women’s roles within them; (3) women are increasingly becoming migrant workers in order to improve the economic status of their families; and (4) women rely on their families to provide various types of support that both make migration possible and condition its outcome. A review of the literature provides evidence supporting each of these observations.”
This article explores the interrelationships between migration, household composition, and the effects of the life cycle. It is concluded that an understanding of family dynamics is important for an analysis of female migration. The importance is related to women’s major role in family migration and family reunification as defined by governments, women’s increasing economic roles which are tied to fulfilling family needs, and women’s desires to improve family economic status. Women use families as a basic social support for migration and the outcome of migration. Women migrants are faced with similar problems. Some of the problems are identified as lack of access to public assistance, to the right to work, and to other restrictions which prevent a normal family life. It is argued that the evidence strongly suggests that women are not just dependents but active players in providing for the well-being of families. The literature on international migration and the family is noteworthy for the deficiencies in availability of life histories of migrants and nonmigrants. This review focuses on evidence from household surveys and how structural factors that condition female migration are closely tied to women’s roles within their families. Evidence from major countries of immigration, such as the United States, Australia, and Canada, suggests that during the 1980s a major proportion of international migrants were admitted under family reunification. Migration for family reunification was important in European countries during the 1960s and 1970s. The author points out that it is difficult to disentangle family reunification from normal dynamics in the family-building process. Family reunification involves both spouses and dependents and parents and other close relatives. Since 1980 there has been a shift to a greater number of female labor migrants, who are motivated by the need to provide income for improving family well-being. Women fulfill mostly low-status, low-paying jobs, frequently as domestic workers.
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