First Advisor

Mary King

Date of Publication

Winter 2-28-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Affairs and Policy


Public Affairs and Policy




Rural women -- Mexico -- Oaxaca (State) -- Social conditions -- Case studies, Rural-urban migration -- Mexico -- Oaxaca (State) -- Case studies, Oaxaca (Mexico : State) -- Emigration and immigration -- Social aspects -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 263 pages)


Using a mixed methods, interdisciplinary case study approach, this research project explores the benefits, risks, and challenges of male migration for women who reside in San Juan Guelavía, Oaxaca, Mexico. In a unique approach in the field of migration studies, this project considers not only women whose husbands have migrated--absent husbands--but also the impact of male migration on women whose husbands have returned as well as women whose husbands have never left--anchored husbands. Women with returned husbands and even women with anchored husbands feel the threat, worry, and fear that male migration could, at an unknown point in the future, fragment their family. This case study approach looks at how women's work responses are differentiated by husbands' migration status, by age, and by husband's control over women's activities. Women with absent husbands tend be income-producing women as well as women ages 35 to 50 far more than women 35 and under and 50 and over. With motherhood as a cultured priority of rural Mexican women, women's income-producing opportunities are primarily limited to options within the home or in venues that can accommodate their children until the children enter school. Although this case study showed little or no connection between male migration and educational attainment, substantial policy-worthy findings suggest that the lack of value that residents of San Juan Guelavía place on the local public high school curriculum negatively impacts educational attainment of children beyond middle school. Women's traditional and cultural emphasis of marriage for their daughters as well as their reluctance to expose daughters to the negative influences of the city sway the decisions that women make for their daughters.


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