Abstract: As one of Mexico’s last agricultural frontiers, southern Mexico’s rural farming municipality of Calakmul has long been marked by rural in-migration. In the last few years this process has given place to an explosive growth of primarily male labor out-migration, particularly to the United States. The authors trace the outlines of the migration process from the perspective of one rural Calakmul community, to explore effects of men’s transnational migration on the household and community status of the women remaining behind. Analysis is based on quantitative data collected in 2004 from 25 households, and on in-depth qualitative interviews in 2005 with women whose husbands engage in transnational migration. The authors find preliminary evidence for changes in gender roles and responsibilities, as these adjust to accommodate men’s absences. The evidence for women’s increased participation in household decision-making is much less clear. This, combined with the words of the women, suggests that gender ideology is defended even as gender responsibilities flex. Women’s spatial mobility also appears to improve, but this must be weighed against greater gains in migrating men’s mobility, as well as some women’s unhappiness with the lack of livelihood improvements.
Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jun 10, 2009