The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty
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The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.
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Chapter 39: The Gendered Exclusions of International Migration: Perspectives from Latin American Migrants in London

Cathy McIlwaine


Cathy McIlwaine This chapter explores the broad relationship between the feminisation of international migration and the feminisation of poverty drawing on the experiences of Latin American migrant women and men living in London, mainly from Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.1 As ‘ordinary’ migrants living in the most deprived parts of inner city London and working in the lowest echelons of the city’s labour market, Latin Americans experience widespread exploitation as a group. Although they were not the poorest in their countries of origin and many still manage to send money to sustain families back home, life in London is characterised by considerable deprivation. Moreover, migrants’ experiences of vulnerability are deeply gendered, if not always in ways which conform with stereotypical expectations. Some women do indeed suffer disproportionately to men as a result of their irregular immigration status, which strips them of political rights and can render them powerless in the face of abuse. However, other migrant women make important gains due to preferential labour recruitment over their male counterparts. Although this is often in relatively menial occupations in cleaning and catering, the difficulties migrant men face in attaining the same opportunities as women can lead to their perceived emasculation. In order to capture the types of gendered ambiguities experienced by Latin American migrants, this chapter suggests that it is most appropriate to talk of the gendered exclusions of international migration. Does the feminisation of international migration overlap with the feminisation of poverty? With the increasing migration of people across borders in...

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