Moving Away from Metropolitans: How Chinese Women Negotiate Migration and Self-employment Careers
Webinar | 29 março 2023


Webinar - Encontros de Estudos sobre a China 

Moving Away from Metropolitans: How Chinese Women Negotiate Migration and Self-employment Careers



Lulu Li, The Chinese University of Hong Kong



Amelia Sáiz López, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona



14h30 – 16h




Meeting ID: 870 6768 4353



Resumo: Under China's market reform, many Chinese women have been attracted to metropolitan areas for better employment opportunities. However, little attention is paid to the rising reverse migration away from big cities for their alternative career aspirations in self-employment in small inland cities. This study employs an intersectional perspective of locality and gender to study Chinese female entrepreneurs who move back from metropolitans to small inland cities. Using qualitative research methods of in-depth interviews and participant observation, the study explores Chinese women's migration and career choices in response to the spatial hierarchy in economic development and gender order in private business sectors.

The findings suggest that Chinese women experience unique obstacles and present gendered-specific agencies in negotiating migration and career aspirations. Being attracted by the rising market opportunities in the developing inland regions, these women left the talent-intensive big cities for the less competitive small and medium cities. However, their migration also comes with the cost of facing the rising yet messy market environment in small inland cities. Deviating from the social convention of women holding stable and unchallenging jobs, these women exerted unique agency between market opportunities and gender norms, and developed an alternative career in entrepreneurship. However, they must also negotiate unconventional career choices when facing gender-specific stereotypes and constraints. Their experiences provide a new perspective to examine female labour migration driven by economic opportunities, family obligations, and gender norms in contemporary China.


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Organização: Sofia Gaspar, Cátia Miriam Costa, Thais França