Transnational Mothering: A Source of Gender Conflicts in the Family

BY Rhacel Salazar Parrenas

Migration destabilizes families or what we think families should “look” like, as it forces the transformation of households from nuclear to transnational structures, challenges the traditional gender division of labor, and imposes the barrier of geographical distance on marital and intergenerational relations. Looking at the case of migration from the Philippines, this Article examines the effects of the feminization of migration on the family. This Article specifically looks at the emergence of transnational mothering and establishes the resistance in Philippine society against this type of parenting. This resistance, arguably, adversely affects intergenerational relations in the family and discourages the reconstitution of the gender division of labor in households. Instead, it encourages fathers to avoid housework, burdens female daughters and extended kin with greater household responsibility, and pressures geographically distant mothers to remain more active nurturers in the lives of their children than are physically present fathers. This Article concludes by making sense of this resistance to gender transformations in Philippine society and addressing the question of how receiving states that benefit from the labor of migrant women could help ease the gender woes that aggravate their family life in the process of migration.

DOWNLOAD PDF | 88 N.C. L. Rev. 1825 (2010)