Emigration’s Impact On Gender Roles And Citizen Participation In Rural Guatemala: Women Who Wait

First Advisor

Claire Halverson


Despite vast research on emigration and Latin America, little has been done on women and families who stay behind; the overall literature that does exist focuses on remittances and communities’ economic growth. While working with women of the Municipality of Pachalum, El Quiche, Guatemala, independent of this research, I noticed that those women who wait also experience big changes in their lives; they indirectly live though the emigration process. This study examines the effects of migration on gender roles of the migrants’ wives who remain in the country of origin. This work is the result of three years of continuous research in emigration and gender roles focused on the municipality of Pachalum, El Quiche, Guatemala. 29 women were interviewed and the analysis of these interviews yielded that the remittances, lack of patriarch in the family, and the support from the Women’s Municipal Office incite changes that empower women to participate in the development of their communities. While men leave to improve their family’s economic situation, women live a new situation in their communities, staying behind to care for their homes and children, if there are any, but are also left behind with an indefinite return date from their husbands.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Rural Sociology | Women's Studies

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