First Advisor

Veronica Dujon

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Women immigrants -- Oregon -- Portland, Ethiopian Americans -- Oregon -- Portland, Eritrean Americans -- Oregon -- Portland, Employment agencies -- Oregon -- Portland, Employee empowerment -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (93 p.)


This study's objective was to examine the affect that migration and employment have on immigrant women's negotiating position within the household. Depth interviews were conducted with nine women who migrated to Portland, Oregon from Ethiopia or Eritrea. Women were encouraged to share a narrative history of their migration and employment experience. These interviews were analyzed to answer three primary questions: Who are immigrant women supporting through their participation in the paid labor market? How do women utilize gain access to employment opportunities and what strategies do women use once employed to meet competing demands on them at work and in the household? And finally, to what extent do women maintain control over their income and influence household decisions? This study found that women, particularly women who migrate prior to marriage, support natal households more than women who migrate after marriage. Women use social networks to find information about jobs, and once employed use an array of strategies to meet domestic demands. These strategies include joining households with other women to share household labor, finding employment opportunities that allow them to care for children while working, and having their mothers come to care for small children. Women who have recently married and have lived in the United States a short amount of time are most likely to express desire to maintain control over their income, while women who have lived in the United States for a longer time are more likely to pool their income with their husbands. Many women felt that they had an equal influence in household decisions as their husbands, but little evidence was provided that this was the case. Instead this study concludes that working outside of the home increases the perceived contribution that women make to the household leads to their empowerment and improves their negotiating position.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL

Persistent Identifier