Cultural Responses to Changing Gender Patterns of Migration in Georgia

Erin T. Hofmann, University of Texas at Austin
Cynthia Buckley, University of Texas at Austin

The feminization of migration causes social tension, with economic forces typically conflicting with cultural norms defining women in terms of their domestic and childcare roles. This paper examines the emergence of female out-migration in Georgia. Using in-depth interviews with former migrant women in Tbilisi and secondary data, we examine the dramatic change in migration flows from Georgia over the past decade. Institutional changes, particularly the implementation of restrictive immigration legislation in Russia, have shifted migration destinations towards countries with higher demand for female labor. In response to these new incentives, more women are migrating from Georgia. We find limited evidence that gender norms are beginning to change in response to these economic shifts, but find strong evidence of a lag between the speed at which migration patterns change and the speed at which cultural traditions change.

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Presented in Session 165: Gender Issues: Cross-National Comparisons (2)