Gender Roles, the Division of Household Labor, and Migration Risk

Christina Hughes, University of Washington

The incorporation of gender into migration research has expanded rapidly over the past 30 years. Though it is now accepted that the decision to migrate is often shaped by the asymmetries that exist within gender relations, much remains unknown about the mechanisms through which gender influences that process. This paper argues that traditional gender roles affect gender disproportion in the likelihood of migration because they emphasize the feminine-private/masculine-public divide. By creating expectations that women should remain within the home while men should go outside of it for compensated labor, adherence to traditional gender roles should decrease the likelihood of women's migration and increase the likelihood of men's migration. Measuring adherence to traditional gender roles according to the division of household labor, this paper utilizes the Mexican Family Life Survey and event history models to test this hypothesis. It finds that gender roles significantly influence gender disproportion in migration likelihood.

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 Presented in Session P1. Marriage, Unions, Families, and Households