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Gender and Social Psychology, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1062

Essay

Since time memorial, migration has been an important facet of the human race. Through migration, people could pursue, achieve and satisfy their needs, wants, desires and passions. Migration has evolved through the years and so have the reasons and purposes for migration. An important facet to consider in migration is the issue of gender. Many times this is overlooked. However, gender is an important facet of modern day migration. Considering, gender in migration, one fundamental question has to be examined, Do women have more to gain or lose from migration? This paper will seek to answer this question through valid argument.

I reflect on a situation where a middle-aged Latin-American woman had been illegally staying in the country. She was separated from her family as a result of the pursuit for happiness abroad. She took on odd jobs to survive in the country, sending money back home whenever she can. Her story critically depicts society’s perception of gender, particularly the role and position of women in society.

It is important to understand the reasons why people immigrate, in this case from a woman’s perspective. Women migrate from their countries of origin for various reasons. The reasons vary from cultural to economic. Chain Migration is a common trigger of women migration. This is where women migrate as a result of a family reunification. Most of the times, this arises from the initial migration of the husband as in the case described (Instructor, 2013).

The most common trigger for the migration of women is for economic reasons. This is where women migrate as a result of poor economic conditions back at home and the prospect of a promising and better future abroad.

One uncommon, but yet recently increasing reason for women migration is gender constraints. This is where women migrate as way of escaping constraints upon them in their country of origin. (Instructor, 2013)

Domestic Authority

Domestic authority is the hierarchy of power and control within the family. In this aspect, immigrant women have been found to gain ground as there has been a considerable shift in the distribution of authority in the family. In a study conducted on Dominican immigrants in the United States, it was found that women have gained a lot since migrating into the United States. This is because there has been a shift from the hegemony of the male sex over control of the domestic resources and the decision making to an egalitarian structure (Grasmuck & Pessar, 1991). This is where both sexes experience equity in the decision making process and control of domestic resources. This has been caused by the increasing need for both sexes to support the family.

Domestic Responsibilities

The immigrant family has found the male sex assuming more responsibilities in the household than when in the country of origin. This involves playing a role in the raising of the children and assisting in other house chores that were originally branded as the responsibility and duty of the woman. In a study on Mexican immigrants, most of the women revealed that their husbands took more responsibility within the home, seeing equity in the distribution of household labour (Pessar, 1999). This can be attributed to the fact that most immigrant men do not get enough of a salary to maintain the desired working class or middle-class lifestyle. Thus the woman also has to work, leading to both parties contributing in domestic chores and responsibilities

Employment Opportunities

With the increase in demand for immigrant jobs, more immigrant women have found themselves with more income generating opportunities that there were in their countries of origin (Pessar, 1999). This given the immigrant woman an opportunity to find themselves in parallel position to their husbands who earn wages. This is one of the reasons that has seen the evolution to the democratic egalitarian structure within their families.

Women are struggling to ensure gender equity. In their struggles, women are facing both internal and external forces (Steinem 12). Internal forces mean that there are other women opposed to this struggle. They have been brainwashed by gender norms, and, as a result have accepted their role in relationships and marriages (Lalwali 3). External forces imply that women’s rights activists are fighting against male forces that dominate them (Tyner, 2012).

Sex Slavery

One negative impact on the women that has resulted from immigration is the rise in cases of sex slavery. This is especially common in the Asian community. A study conducted on Asian immigration showed that many young women are tricked into the prospect of a brighter future and greener pasture abroad by unscrupulous businessman who end up selling them to trafficking cartels who in turn sell them to organized crime groups (Espiritu, 1999). These groups control prostitution and drugs and soon turn these women into sex slaves. This represents one negative impact that migration has had on the woman.

Theoretical Backing

The scenario described can be explained using the Social Learning theory by Albert Bandura. As the theory suggests, individuals in society adopt gendered social roles that are as a result of social and observational learning, as well as modelling. The woman in question had adopted the role of mother, caregiver and ultimately breadwinner for the family as a result of the process of social and observational learning as well as social modelling characteristic of her culture and personal experiences. Within her culture, she has learnt these social norms that eventually lead her to leave her family behind in a bid to provide a better life for them.

In conclusion, migration has had both negative and positive impacts on the woman. Migration in general has meant the emancipation of the woman from authoritarian cultures that seek to demean the woman. Do women have more to gain or lose from migration? I believe that women have more to gain than to lose as a result of migration.

References

Espiritu, Y. L. (1999, January 01). Gender and Labor in Asian Immigrant Families. American Behavioral Scientist,, 42(4), 628-647.

Grasmuck, S., & Pessar, P. R. (1991). Between two islands: Dominican international migration. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Instructor. (2013). Lecture Material.

Oishi, N. (2005). Women in motion: Globalization, state policies, and labor migration in Asia. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Pessar, P. R. (1999, January). Engendering Migration Studies: The Case of New Immigrants in the United States. American Behavioural Scientists, 42(4), 577-600.

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