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MigrationOnline.cz › Bosnian refugee women in (re)settlement: gender relations and social mobility

Bosnian refugee women in (re)settlement: gender relations and social mobility

Barbara Franz
16. 11. 07
Source: migrationonline.cz
Bosnian refugee women adapted more quickly than their male partners to their host environments in Vienna and New York City because of their self-understanding and their traditional roles and social positions in the former Yugoslavia. Family, rather than self-fulfillment through wage labor and emancipation, is the center of life for Bosnian women. In their new environment, Bosnian refugee women are pushed into the labor market and work in low-skill and low-paying jobs. Their participation in the labor market, however, is not increasing their emancipation in part because they maintain their traditional understanding of zena (women) in patriarchal culture. In contrast to men, women were relatively nonselective and willing to take any available job. Men, it seems, did not adapt as quickly as women to restrictions in the labor market and their loss of social status in both host societies. Despite their efforts, middle-class families in New York City and Vienna experienced substantial downward mobility in their new settings.

This text was originally published as: "Bosnian Refugee Women in (Re)Settlement: Gender Relations and Social Mobility", Feminist Review 73 (2003): 86-103. We are republishing it here with permission of the publisher Palgrave Macmillan.
Author is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Rider University, USA. She is the author of the book Uprooted and Unwanted: Bosnian Refugees in Austria and the United States published in 2005 by Texas A&M University Press.



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