Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Dr. Danièle Bélanger

Second Advisor

Dr. Tracey Adams


This thesis contributes to the body of evidence documenting how the migration of women entails gendered patterns of experiences. Based on 23 in-depth interviews conducted in 2009 with former migrant workers from Bangladesh who worked as domestic workers in the Gulf region, this study investigates interviewees’ experiences during the premigration period, while abroad and upon their return. The study documents how structural barriers and socio-cultural contexts of the sending and receiving countries shape study participants’ experiences. Despite barriers and challenges, our study participants displayed strong will and agency and negotiated patriarchal relations through the migration process. While migration may increase women’s vulnerability, migration can be beneficial to some women because it provides them with the opportunity to escape from violent, threatening and even dangerous situations, as well as to stand on their own feet. By becoming bread winners of their family, some women are empowered.



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