Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
038 Townshend Hall, 1885 Neil Ave
The gendered process of Mexican migration to the U.S.:
The intersection of marriage and mobility
In spite of the fact that women comprise over forty-six percent of the U.S. Mexican immigrant population, research on the social process of Mexican migration to the United States remains dominated by the male experience. The problem is particularly acute in quantitative analyses, where data limitations have precluded a deeper understanding of the gendered nature of the relationship between migration and other life-course events. Building on intersectionality theory we elaborate on how gender and life-course transitions interact to produce divergent processes of Mexican-U.S. migration for men and women. We focus on one particular intersection, namely between marriage and migration. Data for the analysis come from an original bi-national survey collected in in Durham, NC and Mexican sending communities, especially tailored to capture gender differences in life-course trajectories and experiences with migration. Results question the common representation of Mexican women as secondary migrants and highlight considerable diversity in migration experiences among women. We show that separating pre- and post-marital moves as well as marriage before and after migration better captures the gendered nature of life-course transitions and enhances women’s visibility and agency in Mexican migration. In addition, we explicitly investigate the role of domestic violence in women’s post-marital moves. We maintain that a deeper understanding of the link between gender and migration requires a reformulation of standard theoretical approaches and data collection strategies that assume the male experience as the norm.