Adolescent Migration to Cancún Reconfiguring Maya Households and Gender Relations in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula m. bianet castellanos In 2001, Alma Kauil Tun left her natal village of Kuchmil to find work in Cancún's service industry.1 With help from relatives, she procured a part-time job doing laundry for a middle-class family. Over time she would acquire the necessary skills and social network to obtain a job as a full-time domestic servant. Alma's experience is similar to that of many rural Latin American women who have sought domestic work in urban centers neighboring their hometowns or located abroad. The growth of the service and manufacturing industries has attracted an increasing number of female migrants and spurred the feminization of the labor force.2 What makes Alma's experience distinctive from these migrations, however, is her age. Alma was fifteen years old in 2001. I have encountered many youths like Alma since I began doing ethnographic research in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula in 1991. In Cancún, adolescent migrants as young as age eleven work in the service and construction industries. They can be found cleaning hotels and private homes, selling goods on the street, and mixing cement for building crews. Not surprisingly, domestic service
Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Nov 15, 2007
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