"Today everything is backwards" : gender ideology and labor migration in the Republic of Georgia
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Recent literature on gender and migration demonstrates that gender plays an important role in human mobility. Men and women hold different positions in households and communities, and gender norms both shape migration decisions and are shaped by the migration process. The literature on gender aspects of migration has remained largely separate from the literature that identifies socioeconomic conditions and human capital characteristics that predict migration, leaving open questions of how gender norms and gender ideology in origin countries might interact with socioeconomic conditions to shape migration patterns. I seek to integrate these two areas, clarifying the ways in which performances of gender can influence migration and destination decisions, and providing a better understanding of which contexts are more conducive to men’s migration and which to women’s. My dissertation incorporates both semi-structured interviews and nationally representative survey data. The mixed methods approach is valuable because the interviews allow for a more detailed analysis of gender norms than would be possible with survey data, while the survey data allow for a systematic comparison of migrants and non-migrants and help to contextualize and generalize the findings from the interviews. I use survey data to test associations between human capital, socioeconomic status, family status, patriarchal gender ideology, and migration. As migration theories predict, measures of human capital and relative deprivation are strongly associated with men’s migration. For women, socioeconomic status and human capital matter, but family status is also strongly associated with migration. Patriarchal gender ideology is positively associated with men’s migration, and negatively with women’s. Survey data also show strong gender and demographic differences in destination patterns among Georgian migrants. Qualitative data complement and expand these findings. Migrants’ narratives show that women’s ability to migrate is limited by their primary responsibility for care giving and domestic work. In more strongly traditional, male-headed households, women’s migration may be further constrained by unwillingness of male relatives to allow women to migrate. On the other hand, the growing popularity of Turkey, Greece, and other European destinations encourages women’s migration, as many Georgians believe that the labor markets in these countries are more open to female migrants.