University of Sussex
Sri_Tharan,_Caridad_T..pdf (1.83 MB)

Gender, migration and social change: the return of Filipino women migrant workers

Download (1.83 MB)
posted on 2023-06-07, 15:21 authored by Caridad Sri Tharan
This study is about the consequences of feminised migration on migrant women workers, on their families and on the Philippine society as a whole. The continued dependence on migration and increasingly, women‘s migration, by the Philippine government to address unemployment on one hand, and by the Filipino families on the other hand, to secure employment and a better life, has led to social change: change in migrant women‘s sense of identity and personhood; restructuring of households and redefinition of families and gender relations and the rise of a culture of migration. To understand these social changes, the study focuses on the return phase of migration situated within the overall migration process and adopts a gendered and feminist approach. Existing theories of return migration cannot adequately capture the meanings of the return of migrant women workers. Studying return through a gendered approach allows us to reflect on the extent migration goals have been achieved or not, the conditions under which return takes place for a migrant woman worker and various factors affecting life after migration for the migrant women and their families. Return of the women migrant workers cannot be neatly categorised as voluntary or involuntary. It is gendered. It is involuntary, voluntary, and mainly ambivalent. Involuntary return was influenced by structural limitations arising from the temporary and contractual type of migration in jobs categorised as unskilled. Voluntary return was mainly determined by the achievement of migration goals, the psychological need to return after prolonged absence and by the need to respond to concerns of families left behind. Ambivalent return was caused by the desire to maintain the status, economic power, freedom and autonomy stemming from the migrants' breadwinning role; the need to sustain the families‘ standard of living; as well as the apprehensions of a materially insecure life back home. The socio-psychological consequences on families and children of migrant women are deep and wide-ranging. Similarly, women migrants, though empowered at a certain level, had to face psychological and emotional consequences upon return influenced by persistent gender roles and gender regimes. By analysing the impact of gendered migration and return on the societal level, the study has broadened and deepened the conceptualisation of the phenomenon of culture of migration by bringing other elements and factors such as the role of the state, human resources, sustainable livelihood, national identity and governance.


File Version

  • Published version



Department affiliated with

  • Sociology and Criminology Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • dphil


  • eng


University of Sussex

Full text available

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Theses)


    No categories selected