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The configuration of emergent migratory profiles and patterns shaped by gender provoked the attention of feminists beginning in the 1970s with the desire to confront the persistent absence of women in the census registers, the androcentric biases that prevailed in this area of study and normative assumptions (Hondagneu-Sotelo & Cranford, 2006; Kofman & Raghuram, 2015; Verschuur, 2013). To this end, they developed innovative approaches to the issue based in critical feminist theory that explored the power relations articulated to the expansion of capitalism in its neoliberal phase after 1989 (Nagar et al., in Silvey, 2004, p. 1).

In the 1980s, in the context of the post-structural turn and the interest in identity, the female migrant subject of the Global South that deserved recognition based on her differences emerged. Bastia (2014, p. 240), following Fraser (2007), argues that in the "Post-socialist era” the struggles for equal redistribution were subordinated to the struggles for cultural recognition. Accordingly, in the 1990s, impregnated by neoliberal multiculturalism and the hegemony of difference opposite inequality, the articulation between gender and class in migration studies was blurred. Structural feminist theories conceptualized gender not only as a characteristic of individuals, but also of collectives, institutions and structures. Some scholars believe that the most promising structural theories are those that include agency and micro-level processes as well as the structural hierarchies that are the focus of their analysis. That is, they are interested in recognition without underestimating redistribution (Fraser, 2007). These frameworks make it possible to understand gender as an individual status that shapes lived experience and as a characteristic of social institutions that are themselves gendered. Key institutions such as labor markets are gendered, continually reified, and transformed through the micro-social interactions among gendered individuals (Nawyn, Reosti, & Gjokaj, 2009, p. 175). From this position, it is possible to think of gender as a dimension that shapes migratory processes.

Even at the end of the 1970s, women were not considered active agents in migration contexts; they were considered dependents, especially as recipients and administrators of remittances sent by men that circulated between one country and another. It was a given that these resources would act as a lever for development of origin countries and migrant sending communities, and that women would play a fundamental role in the administration of these assets. Analyzing the changing definitions of the field, Hondagneu-Sotelo (2011) maintains that, since the 1990s, research shifted from “the study of female migrants” to the analysis of “migration as a gendered process.” That is, she postulates that gender is a constitutive element of migration. This perspective transcends the limited analysis of gender at the individual level of difference between women and men and the statistical register of the unequal participation in migratory flows, to understand how gender shapes a variety of practices, identities and institutions implicated in migration. Along these lines, Nawyn et al. (2009, p. 175) analyze the function of four gendered institutions and processes that precipitate migration: (1) global labor markets; (2) family and care work; (3) social networks; and (4) violence.

Conceiving gender as a structure permits the recognition of its manifestation in the global restructuring of work, in the selectivity of migratory flows (asylum

Migration, class and gender 13 policies, family reunification, recruiting temporary workers, special visa programs, classification of migrant populations, etc.) and in the configuration of “men’s” and “women’s” labor markets (Archer, 2013; Hondagneu-Sotelo, 2011; Kofinan & Raghuram, 2015). Gender also shapes corresponding migratory patterns and "gender regimes” (Connell. 1987) that develop in origin and destination places, giving way to flexible and transitory domestic arrangements throughout the household demographic cycle (Arias & Mummert, 1987; Cravey, 2003). In recent years, the contributions of feminist geographers (Cravey, 2003; Nawyn et al., 2009; Smith & Winders, 2007; Wright, 2006) emphasize space and highlight the importance of considering the contemporary mobility of women articulated in different scales (global, national, regional, communal, familiar) with a historical dimension. These perspectives overcome the tendency of localism and the ethnographic present of anthropology in the study of those “at the margins” allowing for an analysis that transcends national space and takes into account global processes. In sum, we agree with Nawyn et al. (2009, pp. 175-176) that the integration of gender into the analysis of international migration has been slow. It began with the idea of gender as an individual attribute, a static category determined at birth. Many approaches incorporated gender in the analysis of migration to simply complete the operation “add women and stir” and obtain a new result, reducing the empirical analysis of gender to the individual level of difference. Moreover, the authors conclude that research has paid less attention to how gender shapes the decision to migrate and the opportunities to migrate.

In the horizon of a globalizing, neoliberal and financialized capitalism (Fraser, 2014), of the privatization of wellbeing and the proliferation of the service sector, the number of women who incorporated into internal and international migratory flows increased in absolute and relative terms. Their mobility linked the Global South and the Global North, heterogeneous regions with significant economic, social and cultural differences. The term “feminization of migration” refers to this tendency. Some scholars (Kofman & Raghuram, 2015; Oso & Ribas-Mateos, 2013; Sassen, 2002) point out that, instead of a drastic increase in female migrants across the world, the term refers to their greater visibility in official reports and academic research.5 It also alludes to the feminization of work (Amorós, 2008; Cobo, 2005), where women are removable and replaceable pieces in the chains of production that can be assembled, disassembled and relocated with greater ease. We agree with Verschuur (2013, p. 150) that although migration has increased among men and women, the “feminization of migration” refers to the process of women migrating as independent workers.

The focus has thus shifted from being on women as only mothers, to women as mainly ‘workers,’ to now being on women as subjects, where productive and reproductive activities and the social relations they need to carry them out are intertwined. Links are made between the new international division of labour in the global capitalist system, the cultural agency of the subjects and their concrete social straggles.

(Verschuur, 2013, p. 150)

Various processes lie behind the massive incorporation of women in deregulated labor markets (Ehrenreich & Hochschild, 2003; Marchand & Runyan, 2011). These include the reduction of state investment, the privatization of the provision of care, and the lowering of the cost of production by way of the cheapening of living labor through the adoption of subcontracting, part-time and other redesigned forms of super-exploitation. Further, a host of skills historically constructed as “feminine” under the patriarchal regimen of the sexual division of labor, have become standard requisites for workers in a number of occupations. In the context of service sector expansion, linguistic, affective and interpersonal skills, demanded especially from women, have become particularly relevant (Mezzadra & Neilson, 2013, p. 104). The prejudices concerning the marginal contribution of women to the national and domestic economies, the complementariness of their salaries and their erratic and transitory insertion in work underlie these processes (Castañeda & Zavella, 2007; Kofman, 2014; Lee-Treweek, 2012; Pessar, 2005). Ethnographic research focusing on the households of these new global workers challenge these prejudices. Our analysis unfolds in that direction.

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