Reframing the Migration Question: an Analysis of Men, Women, and Gender in Mexico


Kanaiaupuni, Shawn M. 2000. “Reframing the Migration Question: an Analysis of Men, Women, and Gender in Mexico.” Social Forces 78 (4): 1311-47.

Author: Shawn M. Kanaiaupuni


The migration literature agrees on several key factors that motivate individual decisions to move: human capital investments, socioeconomic status, familial considerations, social networks, and local opportunities in places of origin relative to opportunities abroad. Yet further analysis of the social forces underlying these relationships reveals interwoven gender relations and expectations that fundamentally differentiate migration patterns, in particular who migrates and why Data analysis of 14,000 individuals in 43 Mexican villages reveals several mechanisms through which the effects of gender play out in the migration process. Results suggest that migrant networks provide support to new men and women migrants alike, whereas high female employment rates reduce the likelihood that men, but not women, begin migrating. Education effects also emphasize the importance of examining gender differences. In keeping with the literature on Mexican migration, I find that men are negatively selected to migrate, but, conversely, that higher education increases migration among women. My findings also question the narrow portrayal of women as associational migrants that follow spouses, disclosing much greater chances of family separation than reunification among migrants' wives and significantly higher migration risks for single and previously married women than married women.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2000

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at