Changes in Perception of Gender Roles: Returned Migrants


Khalid, Ruhi. 2011. "Changes in Perception of Gender Roles: Returned Migrants." Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 9: 16-20.

Author: Ruhi Khalid


This study explored how migration influenced gender role perceptions. A comparison of returned migrants with non-migrants was made to see the effects of migration-repatriation. Sample of 120 men and women returned migrants were interviewed and Islamic Attitude towards Women Scale (Khalid & Freiz, 2004) was administered.  T-test results showed significant differences in attitude towards gender roles.  Changes in the returned migrant groups were also related to a number of demographic factors. Results also suggested that returned migrant men and women either take on new patterns of behavior or maintain the traditional ones only when these are congruent with financial concerns of the family or can be integrated into living conditions in Pakistan upon return.


Keywords: migration, gender roles, gender transformation, returned migrants


  • Khalid argues that the way in which gender roles are perceived in Pakistan has changed as a result of urbanization, industrialization, migration, and exposure to other cultures, among other factors. She focuses on the experience of Pakistanis who have migrated to the UK, a culture that more openly embraces gender equality, and have later returned to Pakistan. She questions whether these returned migrants, having been exposed to both Pakistani and British culture, embrace the culture of the UK by becoming more egalitarian or reject it by becoming more conservative.
  • In her study, Khalid formulates five hypotheses assessing the correlation between migration and perception of gender roles among Pakistanis, focusing largely on their attitudes toward household and childcare responsibilities. She samples 120 married Pakistanis who have moved to the UK and then back to Pakistan afterwards, as well as non-migrant Pakistanis. Ultimately, she concludes that the majority of returned migrants have become more egalitarian in their perceptions of gender roles.
  • After presenting her data, Khalid confirms each of the five hypotheses. She concludes that: a) there were significant differences in gender role beliefs between the returned migrant and non-migrant groups, b) the non-migrant group held more conservative attitudes toward gender roles than the returned migrant group, and c) women in both groups held more egalitarian beliefs than men. Her findings illuminate the impact of acculturation on the perception of individuals. It also sheds light on the influence of Islam on attitudes toward gender.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Gender, Women, Men, Gender Roles Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Pakistan

Year: 2011

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