Philippine Women on the Move. A Transnational Perspective on Marriage Migration

  • Andrea Lauser (Autor/in)

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The paper discusses how Philippine transnational marriage migration is intertwined in complex and paradoxical ways with global, local and personal matters. Criticizing the dominant discourse that narrowly perceives Asian women in general, and Filipinas in particular, as either "mail-order" brides or overseas workers my argument blurs the artificial analytical division between marriage migrants (wives) and labour migrants (workers, mainly domestic
workers). My presentation focuses on the life histories of different Filipina women in order to illustrate the intersections and multiplicity of roles as wives, mistresses, workers, mothers, daughters and citizens in a transnational migratory space. The stories illustrate how Filipina migrants use different socio-cultural and socio-economic situations across transnational spaces - and at times against local gender constructions - in order to renegotiate and reclaim a respectable and desired marital status. On the one hand these women are subject to manifold localized, legal, religious-moral definitions as women and wives, on the other hand they utilize more or less creatively and actively structural differences and new opportunities across transnational spaces to redefine themselves. The stories show both the women's agency and the importance of structural factors.