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Vietnamese Women Rural Migrants’ Social Vulnerability Under the Lens of Hegemonic Masculinities and Confucianism
30/12/21 05:47PM
Ly Huynh. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 2021.

Abstract: This study investigates the experiences of vulnerability of women who lived in rural and in other parts of Vietnam and migrated to Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City to earn money. In particular, it explores social vulnerabilities and their causes from a broadly feminist perspective using the concept of hegemonic masculinity. Data was gathered by means of in-depth life story interviews with 15 women migrants who work in the informal sector. In HCM City, these women migrants lacked household registration, lived far away from their families, and lacked an ability to establish social networks within these new urban communities and with the local people who inhabit them. Given this social detachment, they experienced feelings loneliness, hopelessness, and inferiority. Their experiences were also interpreted within in a wider context of the norms of Vietnamese society that are reproduced as part of the migrant women’s cultural matrix of traditional rules that have given power to the men whose role in society and family is always more valued than that of a woman. Moreover, due to the influence of Confucianism, Vietnamese women migrants believe that this is their fate. Viewed through the lens of hegemonic masculinity, the participants’ behaviour was found to be constrained, if not controlled, by these cultural or social norms at two levels: social and institutional levels. It was found that the dynamics of social and institutionalised gender imbalances and a hegemonic masculinity overladen by Confucianism combined to contribute to the social vulnerability of the Vietnamese women migrants.