Migration and Relationship Power among Mexican Women

Emilio A. Parrado, Duke University
Chenoa A. Flippen, Duke University

This paper draws on original data collected in Durham, NC and four sending communities in Mexico to examine the impact of migration on women’s relationship power. We analyze the personal, relationship, and social resources that condition the impact of migration on women’s power, and evaluate the usefulness of the recently presented Relationship Control Scale (RCS) for capturing these effects. We find support for perspectives that emphasize that migration can simultaneously mitigate and reinforce gender inequities. While Mexican women in the U.S. gain relative to their non-migrant peers in terms of emotional consonance with their partners, they lose with respect to relationship control and sexual negotiation. Methodologically, we find the RCS internally valid and useful for measuring the impact of resources on women’s power. However, the scale appears to combine diverse dimensions of relationship power that in our case were differentially affected by migration.

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Presented in Session 82: Gender Inequality in Developing Countries