Chinese Women as Transnational Migrants: Gender and Class in Global Migration Narratives



This paper argues that the debates on transnationalism are gender implicit, and the discourse shaped by the emergence of Pacific Asian economies as key players in the global economy sees men as the dominant representative of these global forces. Belief in a real or imagined global bonding has become a dominant and problematic discourse that can empower some, while marginalizing others. It is important to examine how women of Chinese ancestry position themselves within their personal and global environments and to give agency to women in these narratives fashioned by tropes of global capitalism and world markets.

Women now outnumber male immigrants to the major immigration countries of Australia, the United States, and Canada, and this shift is due to the increased migration of women from Asian countries. Yet their position in transmigration and settlement patterns has largely been ignored. This paper argues that the global perspective of Chinese diasporic women has significant implications for both Western and non-Western global patterning. The site of the investigation is Australia in the post 1970s and the focus is on women of Chinese ancestry re-migrating from East and South-East Asia.