Gender and Migration

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In this paper, I apply a critical discourse analysis method to review gendered narratives concerning poverty, social inequalities and gender relations in order to understand how migration reproduces gender-biased social structures. I argue that migration places constraints on women’s agency, contrary to popular notions that women’s empowerment is largely realized through the migration process (in the form of resource gains and improvement in social position). Conversely, I believe that migration increases the burden of patriarchy on women, calling for the sensitive negotiation of gender roles. Drawing on ‘subjective knowledge’ accounts and feminist theories, I aim to problematize the credibility of migration as an effective development strategy, revealing how widely found opinions, which tend to polarize the implications of migration as either good or bad, are supported by a narrow frame of reference, namely economic growth or neoliberalism. I believe that a more representative evaluation requires adopting a human development paradigm, which, as per its distinctive attention to enhancing people’s capabilities, offers a conceptual space for considering other determinants of quality of life such as the intersection of gender with race and class. This is necessary to move beyond overly simplistic conceptions, which have serious repercussions when translated into social policy. For example, policies targeting income poverty alleviation may divert attention and resources away from investigating other forms of deprivation, involving social and political aspects, which could expose more notable consequences. For this reason, I will focus on the exploitation of migrant care workers and consider how globalization intensifies demands on the... ... middle of paper ... ... countries: Recent global evidence. OECD Development Centre. Lutz, H. (2011a). Chapter 2: The household as a global market for women's labour. In H. Lutz (Author) & D. Shannon (Trans.), The new maids: Transnational women and the care economy (pp. 18-30). New York: Zed Books. Lutz, H. (2011b). Chapter 8: Migrant women in the globalization trap? In H. Lutz (Author) & D. Shannon (Trans.), The new maids: Transnational women and the care economy (pp. 185-194). New York: Zed Books. Milanovic, B. (2012). Global inequality: From class to location, from proletarians to migrants. Global Policy, 3 (2), 125-133. Sutherland, P. (2013). Migration is development. Retrieved from Project Syndicate website: World Bank (2009). World Development Indicators Online 2009.

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