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Gender roles and Vietnamese female immigrants in Finland

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Title: Gender roles and Vietnamese female immigrants in Finland
Author(s): Nguyen, Tam
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Discipline: Social Policy (prior to 1.8.2011)
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2015
This thesis studies a case of female Vietnamese immigrants in Finland and the structure of new gender roles due to the adaptation in the new land. Considering gender roles are practiced differently in different cultures and societies (Lindsey, 1990; Spain, 1993), it is sensible to study the changes of gender roles in families occurring as the result of adaptation when Vietnamese immigrants move from prevalent Confucius culture to Nordic one. The main objective of this thesis is to find out how Vietnamese female immigrants have defined their familial roles after migrating to Finland. Following the framework adopted from Foner (1997), this thesis analyzes the data taken from in-depth interviews with 10 lately-arrived female immigrants and supplementary information from 3 male immigrants, field notes and biographical questions. The research determines that these women experience new types of gender roles, which are formed by both some elements brought from home country and newly-learnt practices in Finland. The results show that although the main features of traditional gender relations are maintained, radical changes in different aspects including familial model, kin relationship, division of labour and decision-making power, could be noticed. Adapting to Finland, Vietnamese families in Finland have been transformed from traditional extended to nuclear family model, which has had a major effect on traditional familial relationships and defining gender roles. These Vietnamese women lose the position of co-breadwinners, therefore, they maintain the traditional role as homemakers. However, as a strategy of coping with the lack of support and influence of external family members, Vietnamese women seem to have more power in making decision and benefit better involvement of husbands in domestic work and child-care.

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