Gender and Skilled Migration: Agency, Power, and Social Transformations

Authors: Yining Tan*, Arizona State University
Topics: Ethnic Geography, Gender, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: mobilities, skilled migrants, gender, China
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Council Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Skilled migration has increasingly become gendered while the gender perspective has long been overlooked in the analysis of skilled migration. Situating in globalization and transnationality, this paper examines self-initiated and spouse migrants from the U.S. to China on individual (micro), household (meso) and society (macro) levels. The agency of female skilled migrants is structured within the everyday migration experiences, and cannot be disembedded from the gender powers within household and the social transformations sweeping across the Pacific Rim. Based on in-depth interviews and participant observations conducted in the Pearl River Delta Region of China, this paper aims to address the following questions: 1) How is agency of skilled female migrants constructed in the migration and settlement process? 2) How are skilled female migrants’ everyday practices influenced by the family structure and gender norms within household? 3) How is gender power asymmetry a product of social order and producing social processes at the same time? The findings of the research will contribute to the gendered approach in migration studies and advance our understanding of situating everyday life of female migrants within broader household spheres and social changes. The research will also provide policy implications on attracting and retaining skilled migrants to induce economic and social transformations in the destination society.

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