Through the women's eyes: Latin American Women's Experience of Immigration to Australia

Aizpurúa, Romina Iebra (2008) Through the women's eyes: Latin American Women's Experience of Immigration to Australia. Coursework Master thesis, Victoria University.

Abstract

Although immigration has been widely investigated, academic research regarding the female immigration remains limited. As a result of relocation, immigrant women – compared to male immigrants – are considered to experience greater hardships, often connected to the influence of traditional gender values and roles, restricted political support, and the lack of adequate social services to facilitate their integration. Australia is, essentially, a land of immigrants. International immigration represents one of its major sources of population and economic growth. However, the integration of immigrants is a controversial and often conflictive issue. In spite of Australia’s endorsement of multiculturalism, the influence of the historic white Australian ideals remains as an informal expectation to assimilate ethnically divergent minorities. The Latin American community in Australia is large and has contributed, not only to the economic prosperity of the country, but also to its cultural diversity. Despite official discourses, however, Latin American immigrants do not encounter the same labour and economic opportunities, and often experience severe social challenges and discrimination. In seeking to understand the specific acculturation challenges of Latin American females in Australia, 13 women – living in Australia for an average of 32 years – were interviewed using an open-ended schedule. The data from the interviews was qualitatively analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Main findings indicate that most participants – although some achieved positive levels of labour integration – remained socially separated from the mainstream society, exchanging mostly with other immigrants. The maintenance of traditional gender roles within their households, restricted sources of social support and family assistance in Australia, and poor support from the mainstream society translated into low levels of psychological adjustment. These factors interacted, rather than operating as separate variables. Under the socio-politic and ideological circumstances encountered in Australia, a complete integration was not possible. Acculturation, to most women, was experienced as a never-ending process where many conflictive issues remained unresolved.

Item type Thesis (Coursework Master thesis)
URI http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/2051
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts-General
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords immigrant women, Latin American immigrants, Australia
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