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“¿Por qué Migrar? Porque Quise Correr y Volar”: An Exploration of Women’s Motivations for Mexico-U.S. Migration

Altamirano Marin, Jacqueline

The migration of Mexican women has historically been dependent on male relatives and partners due to multiple socio-economic factors. The creation of gender specific work programs, cultural stigma against migration of single women, and economic disparities created lack of channels for women to migrate in the same way as men. The lack of emphasis on gender within migration theory suggests that women migrate to the will of male partners and relatives, situating family reunification as women’s main focus for migration. This thesis is interested in exploring to what degree family reunification is a motivation for women’s migration to the United States, what other motivations exist, and how gender influences those motivations. In order to investigate this question, I carried out in-depth interviews with ten migrant women in Portland, Oregon whose migrations spanned the 1970s - 2000s. While the evidence is not significant, the interviews provided insight into the multiple decision-making points for women’s migration and offered in depth exploration on the extent family reunification was a motivation for these women. What came out from this rich, albeit limited, data is that how women migrate does not reflect reasons why women migrate, and the need for distinguishing to be made between family reunification as the initiation of women’s migration process and the motivation of women’s migration.

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Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Cohen, Yinon
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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