Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Tracey Adams


This thesis examines social networks and gender roles among domestic workers who are rural-to-urban female migrants in Vietnam. Using qualitative data collected from 10 in-depth interviews and one focus group with 17 domestic workers and one interview with a NGO staff member, I argue that networks and gender are closely linked as migrant women drew support from their circles of female friends and families yet these networks also constrained them by monitoring behaviours against rigid gender expectations and ideal womanly virtues. My findings show that while most migrant women continued to adhere to their traditional gender roles and overcame many difficulties in order to fulfill their domestic obligations, their new earning power also enhanced their status in their families and communities. Lastly, this study places migrant women within a broader context of a country in transition and draws attention to the agency they exercised before, during and after the migration process.