Gender Relations in Immigrant Families: Links between Culture and Socialisation of Young Canadian Women
Throughout the socio-economic integration process, immigrant families confront intergenerational tensions when the older generation is rooted in values and norms of the homeland and the younger one has become more rapidly integrated into the Canadian dominant culture (Mitchell, 2005). There exists scarce research about the transformations immigrant youth undergo (Anisef & Murphy Kilbride, 2003), and even less about the second generation and the role of gender relations in this dynamic. To cast light on the experiences of Canadian families of Somali, Chinese and Lebanese origins (Moscovitch & Mohamoud, 2005), 12 focus groups were held during the winter of 2006. There were four groups per community: one involving fathers; another one involving mothers; a third for young men; a fourth for young women. Their verbatim comments are subjected to content analysis (Huberman & Miles, 1991). Reflecting research in relations between genders (Héritier, 2002), a consensus arises from these 12 focus groups: the process of female socialization differs from that of males. Young women who act in the same fashion as their peers of the dominant culture provoke tensions within their families. Young men seem to enjoy more freedom. The process of education and of socio-economic integration can contribute to a wider range of options available to youth and may thereby reduce the limits to which young women are subjected.
Keywords: Immigrant Families, Socio-economic Integration Process, Socialization, Intergenerational Tensions
Dr. Marie Drolet
Associate Professor, School of Social Work