The purpose of this research is to provide a critical review of the literature of gender in international migration studies. After presenting and analyzing the role of gender in general concepts/drivers of global migration, I focus on how gender shapes the major causes of global migration and the connections of gender with international migration, from migration decision-making to integration/assimilation processes. This work also addresses the process of integrating highly-educated women migrants/refugees into the economy. I analyze the main approaches, concepts, theories, methodologies, and substantive issues. Finally, I summarize the major points made herein and provide evidence of my perspective and projections regarding the directions in which research in this area might proceed.


Immigration is increasing both internally and internationally, and this has been especially true in the past three decades (Castles, 2010). Although it is neither less important than nor unconnected to international migration, this study does not address internal migration, since there are very few valid comparative studies on the issue, with only a few exceptions (such as King & Skeldon, (2010). I focus on international migration (both voluntary and forced) and the implications of gender since this affects the migration process. While the most important drivers of migration stem from global issues such as inequality, international energy conflicts, and developed countries’ involvement in the management of developing nations, the literature tends to focus on micro-level issues (Bloemraad, Korteweg, & Yurdakul, 2008, p. 154).

A comprehensive literature review will assist in discussions of less-studied and ignored areas (e.g., gender) related to the sociology of migration and link the topic to broader issues in sociology.

In the pages that follow, I examine these issues in greater detail. In Part 1, I begin this discussion by exploring the gender in most widely-mentioned concepts and dichotomies in sociological immigration literature. These perspectives, I argue, are limited and do not cover the embedded characteristics of immigration and the experiences of different gender groups in the migration process. They are closely related to reactions resulting from significant migration flows and the relative interests of receiving countries. However, it is useful to follow the literature’s development from dichotomies and easy answers to more inherent, multi-dimensional, and interdisciplinary perspectives. I use Massey and colleagues’ generally accepted summary of contemporary theories of international migration (Massey et al., 1993). I classify these theories according to Massey’s initiation and perpetuation to underscore the relationship with international migration. I focus on the development of concepts and theories related specifically to gender and immigration issues. Then, I discuss the gender in structure and agency approach in “middle-range theories” to underscore new developments in migration studies (Castles, 2010, p. 1574). I conclude by critiquing increasingly common academic trends in explaining immigration and argue for possible directions for the development of future gendered theoretical discussions.

In Part 2, I examine gender in the major causes, since this topic has generally been ignored and only infrequently embedded within the context of immigration (Castles, 2013). I begin by discussing the main arguments regarding major causes and macro-level links to migration. Then, I focus on the implications of global inequality, the north-south gap, and the inequalities that exist within receiving countries. I end this section by examining the lack of reliable and comparative data, and certain new efforts toward developing better datasets (Solt, 2009), in the hopes of isolating the reasons behind the search for middle-range theories.

In Part 3, I turn to the settlement process by analyzing gender and immigrants’ integration in developed countries. I discuss the dimensions of integration, as well as acculturation attitudes and strategies (Rohmann, Florack, & Piontkowski, 2006). I add two emerging concepts, identity and religion since they have been discussed frequently in recent acculturation literature and evaluate experiences of gender groups in each dimension of integration. Then, I emphasize the commonalities and differences among highly educated or skilled refugees and other immigrants, especially in terms of gender and labor market integration. I conclude by demonstrating possible directions for this field of inquiry.

In the final part, I elaborate upon the major points made in this paper, provide evidence for my perspective, and summarize my projections regarding the direction in which research in this area might proceed.

PART I: Gender in Immigration Theories and General Concepts 

Immigration does not have a single, comprehensive, generally accepted theory (Castles, 2003; Massey et al., 1993) to explain its dynamics. Moreover, generally little work on immigration unequivocally researches for gender issues (Morrison, Schiff, & Sjoblom, 2008). Although some scholars have tried to find “integrate[d]” migration theories (Massey et al., 1993, p. 432), such studies have been criticized for not properly separating different levels (i.e., micro- and macro-) of analysis on the topic (Bakewell, 2010), selectively employing different theories (Castles, 2007), ignoring forced migration (van Hear, 2010), neglecting gendered characteristics of displaced people, and examining migration processes with a male-dominated perspective (Kanaiaupuni, 2000).

Immigration theories are pervaded with dichotomies. I discuss the most frequently mentioned dichotomies that appear in recent literature and the role of gender in these concepts and theories. They include push-pull theories (Portes & Borocz, 1989) of migration, internal and international migration (Castles, 2010), forced and voluntary (primarily labor) migration (Bakewell, 2010), micro- and macro-perspectives (van Tubergen, Maas, & Flap, 2004), and Massey and colleagues’ widely supported theoretical dichotomy of “initiation” (1993, p. 432) and “perpetuation” (p. 448). Though some scholars have criticized the use of dichotomies due to inherent drawbacks such as explaining the effects of social structures and specific cases of push migrants (Fussell, 2012, p. 26), these dichotomies have commonly been used in immigration literature and are helpful for showing how gender issues have been involved or neglected in main approaches, concepts, and theories.

Push-pull theories. These focus solely on labor migration, tending to make two predictions: migration flow moves from developing nations to developed nations, and appears without any macro-effects. However, these assumptions cannot explain the concentration and direction of certain changes in size, historically preferred routes and locations, the different individual choices of people of the same region (Portes & Borocz, 1989), or the different gender influences on migration decision (Commission of the European Communities, 2000). Also, the inability of push-pull theories to explain movement can be extended to the important effects of immigration policies, migrant networks abroad, easy reachability of information about the immigration process, and how these effects are gendered. For example, early studies predicted that women moved as dependents while men moved for labor purposes. Later research complicates this by showing different reasons such as the movement for marriage (Kofman, 1999) and women’s increasing single migration (Lutz, 2010).

Moreover, even in household migration, gender roles may be different in destination countries than in origin countries. Some supportive findings on this are related to migration policies, job markets’ needs (e.g., high demand for nurses and domestics), and women’s higher employment rates in Western countries.

Internal-international migration binary. Internal migration is much more common than international migration, and the number of people forced to relocate internally has increased in recent decades (Castles, 2003). However, immigration scholars have primarily focused on international immigration and have had little interaction with internal migration scholars and their topics of interest (Castles, 2010). Also, gendered understandings of internal and international migration have been neglected in the literature. Some possible explanations for this could relate to the pre-1980s’ assumptions that the migrants are predominantly males searching for better labor opportunities and that females accompany them. However, we now know that these assumptions are not correct (Pedraza, 1991). Migration studies began to include gender in the 1980s. The first-wave of these studies typically added women to the existing studies on migration, oftentimes as a variable. However, newer studies in the 2000s examined the relational role of gender and accomplished a more coherent perspective on gender and migration (King, Dalipaj, & Mai, 2006). Recent studies have argued that there is a critical linkage between internal and international migration. These studies found that disregarding any type of migration causes a study to be incomplete (van Hear, 2010). However, gender has not taken into account in the interactions of internal and international migration studies with a few exceptions (see Curran & Rivero-Fuentes, 2003), which shows the impact of gendered networks on internal and international migration.

Forced and voluntary migration. The sociology of immigration literature has improved mostly in terms of voluntary migration (Castles, 2003), and to a lesser degree has covered involuntary or forced migration (Fussell, 2012). Also, this is true for gender and forced migration studies. However, some recent studies examine gender analysis of forced migration (Krystalli, Hawkins, & Wilson, 2018) and explore the experiences of forced migrants who move due to their gender identities or sexual orientation (Alessi, 2016). Although forced migrants are significant in number, similar to that of internally displaced persons, they are mostly excluded from the scope of migration research. Some scholars have argued that the reasons for this reduced interest are related to the dependent decision process of these forced people (i.e., suppressive regimes) and their sensitive political status in receiving countries (Bakewell, 2010).

Micro- and macro-perspectives. A variety of classic theories have used micro- and macro-level analyses to explain the causes of international migration (van Tubergen et al., 2004). However, most of the studies have not considered the role of gender in popular migration theories. A few exceptions of gendered perspectives in migration theories are related to micro-level theories of labor migration theory and recent studies on the integration of immigrants. Major theories of integration have not interested in gender except some partial contribution of segmented assimilation theory regarding the gender gap in educational incorporation process of girls and boys (Donato, Gabaccia, Holdaway, Manalansan, & Pessar, 2006). While micro-level structures tend to focus on the decision processes of individuals and families (e.g., neoclassical economics) in widely cited migration theories, researches have based their theories predominantly on male migrants and have neglected the role of gender in family decisions. Macro-level theories advocate that global forces give rise to migration, such as in world systems theory (Massey et al., 1993). However, the literature has almost no attention to gender in classic macro theories with a few exceptions such as Mahler and Pessar’s (2001) gendered geography of power, which refers to the role of gender across transnational spaces beyond immigrants’ origin states. Also, studies increasingly mentioned meso-level structures like communities and regions, stressing the importance of linkages of different scopes (Bakewell, 2010; Ceobanu & Escandell, 2010; Hunter, Luna, & Norton, 2015; Portes, 2010). Recent gender and migration studies have attempted to fill in the gaps in these theories by combining different methods and understanding the topic as relational and contextual (Donato et al., 2006). Lutz’s study is an important example of gender analysis in the migratory process since she examines micro, meso, and macro perspectives. Her paper focuses on gender in the migratory process by showing the absence of women in previous studies and presenting a new conceptual framework to show gender within social change. Lutz treats gender as a key element in the migratory process. She examines three aspects of gender (labor market, organization of work, individual practices/identities) in three analytical levels (macro, meso, micro) (2010). This analysis helps to understand how immigrants follow gender-specific migration patterns (2010, p. 1658).

Initiation and perpetuation of migration. Massey examined most of the known international migration theories as they relate to two main conditions, initiation and perpetuation. Many scholars have reiterated and supported Massey’s approach (Fussell, 2012; Portes, 2010). He explained initiation theories of migration under the following titles: neoclassical, new economics, dual labor market, and world systems theory. He used the following perpetuation titles for when migration begins: network, institutional, cumulative causation, and migration systems theory (Bakewell, 2010; Massey et al., 1993). These theories mostly come from the discipline of economics oftentimes neglecting gender. Donato et al. describe the problem as follows:

Although more women are migrating than in the past, traditional explanations for men’s migration do not apply to women. Decisions to migrate are made within a larger context of gendered interactions and expectations between individuals and within families and institutions. Therefore, gender is critically important to consider before the development of theory (2006, p. 12).

However, some gender and migration studies have examined the possible role of gender in initiation and perpetuation theories. For example, Shauman and Noonan support new economics theory and examine migration as a family decision. They found that the relationship between family migration and job success depends on job market characteristics in gender-specific ways in addition to individual and familial differences (2007).

The network theory of migration refers to migrants’ agency and how it helps them in their movement and unification processes (Castles, 2010; Portes & Sensenbrenner, 1993). Kanaiaupuni argues that migrant networks offer similar support for men and women (2000). Neoclassical theories have seen migration as an individual decision, and women have not been evaluated in migration decision since they generally accepted as wives or mothers. However, new economics theory stresses the importance of family in migration decision, though these theories explicitly examine the role of gender in the decision process (Boyd & Grieco, 2003).

Next, I discuss trends in the theoretical development of gender and migration studies.

Gender in a Recent Approach: Structure and Agency & Middle-Range Theories

It is important to emphasize that recent studies of migration have not focused on creating a single theory. Many scholars have found this type of endeavor to be useless and instead attempted to understand the various confusions, paradoxes, and unwanted outcomes of migration (Castles, 2007; Portes, 1997). Scholars who have defended this development have generally tended to accept the middle-range approach, which found its roots in Merton’s middle-range theories; which fit well when only limited data are available, as is the case with migration. Castles described the middle-range theory of contemporary migration as the “analysis of a particular migration system linking specific countries of origin, transit, and destination, within the context of the wider social relations of globalization and social transformation. This could lead to theoretical frameworks incorporating both structure and agency” (2007, p. 365). Structures refer to social institutions within different scopes: macro-level (i.e., states), micro-level (i.e., households), and meso-level (i.e., networks among micro- and macro-levels) institutions. Agency includes individual and collective decisions made to deal with problems of transition (Castles, 2007).

Following Castles’ call, some scholars have tried to put mid-range migration theories into practice. The special issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, “Theories of Migration and Social Change,” published in 2010 was an important step in the development of migration theory. In that issue, scholars examined migration-related topics as a part of mainstream sociological studies. This approach not only provided a link between migration and issues of interest to mainstream sociology such as gender, class, and ethnicity within the context of social change and transformation, it also supported development within the field by taking account the tension of structures and agency in the migration process (van Hear, 2010). In that special issue, Helma Lutz examined gender in the migration process and provided possible explanations for the invisibility of women in the theorization of migration. She proposes a gendered model in each scale (macro, meso, and micro level) and takes masculinities and femininities of origin and destination countries into account for the evaluation of gendered migration process (2010).

This themed issue of migration endorsed a more comprehensive approach to migration studies. The mostly agreed-upon characteristics of the new process included connections among internal-international migration, micro-meso-macro-levels, linkages with mainstream sociology topics like gender and ethnicity, and the relationship between structure and agency (van Hear, 2010).

Donato and her collaborators criticize past gender and migration studies for their male-centered approach. They argue that “future breakthroughs from gender analysis will be the product of heightened collaboration across disciplines and innovative ways of combining quantitative and qualitative methods that understand gender to be relational and contextual, power-laden and also dynamic” (Donato et al., 2006, p.13).

Summary of Theoretical Discussions and Possible Future Directions

Although migration is not a new phenomenon, the sociological interest in the field of migration is fairly new and linked to recent increases in internal and international migration, especially that which has occurred in the last few decades. Borrowing from and incorporating micro- and macro-level theories, scholars have attempted to resolve the question of why some people move while some do not, even when in the same conditions. Another enduring question concerns why human movement continues and how it might be stopped. Though push-pull and neoclassical theories explain certain characteristics of such flows (mainly those of labor-based migrants), there is no comprehensive approach to answering these questions and gender has not been involved in the developments of classical theories. Thus, existing theories have been criticized for revolving around international labor markets, disregarding other types of migration and migrants, lacking gender in the migratory process, and for their male-dominated perspectives.

Massey and colleagues attempted to “integrate” existing theories of international migration (1993, p. 432), asserting that their study showed “what an integrated theory of international migration should look like” (Massey et al., 1998, p. 281). Although many scholars have found this research to provide a useful summary of leading sociological thought on migration, and especially applauded the work’s contribution to networks theory, some researchers have criticized the piece due to its missing a number of approaches and critical points. The primary critiques are related to their selective method (i.e., choosing a set of favorite fragmented theories, to the neglect of others), while simultaneously asserting that their work was “integrated.” This selectivity can be seen in a study of Massey and Espinosa a few years later. They claim that the returning reasons of Mexican migrants in the US are more related to the theories of social capital and the new economics of migration than the neoclassical theory (Massey & Espinosa, 1997). Also, the study disregards the changing effects of time and space. For instance, forced migration has increased significantly since the time of writing, and internal migrants now outnumber international migrants. The researchers also missed the connections among micro-, meso-, and macro-levels (Bakewell, 2010; Castles, 2007; van Hear, 2010).

Almost two decades after Massey’s selective, poorly “integrated,” and time-biased study (van Hear, 2010), pioneers such as Castles and Portes pursued another approach to further develop migration theory. These scholars avoided using restrictive dichotomies to classify migration topics, instead of supporting the galvanization of related approaches in the field. They also attempted to locate the phenomenon of migration within mainstream theories of social change, inside the contexts of structure and agency. Scholars have found that this approach provides a useful starting point for progress in the field. Both studies and the subsequent discussion have contributed to the theoretical development of migration studies and created a new understanding of the topic. For example, following the analysis of the importance of time and space in migration studies, Fussell argued for “three dimensions of migration theories: a spatial dimension bridging the origin and destination countries, a temporal dimension explaining why a migration stream begins and continues to grow or does not, and a volitional dimension revealing the responses of migrants to the contexts that produce and change the migration stream” (2012, p. 26).

There is an increasing academic interest in gender and migration studies, and frequent attempts have been made to evaluate the topic in accordance with the critiques mentioned above. However, work in this area continues to neglect certain migrant groups such as refugees and asylees and does not focus on internal studies and their linkages to international migration (with a few exceptions, such as King & Skeldon, 2010). Castles’ (2003, 2007, 2010) comprehensive approach to examining the topic of migration covers a great deal but tends to be frenetic. The results may suffer due to time, space, and other essential factors such as technology, which could eventually provide a better alternative to Castles’ social change; as stated above, a number of scholars have found this approach to be time-biased. I argue that the field of gender and migration can progress with new data, especially in the lesser-known fields of forced and internal migration, by providing connections among new studies and earlier literature and evaluating gender in the development of the theory. Also, dualistic, comparative, interdisciplinary, and multi-level analyses that include other parts of the world will generate new developments in the field.

PART II: Gender in Major Causes of Global Migration

Sociological interest in migration question mainly focuses on (voluntary) labor international migration of males and the possible related causes. Therefore, work in this area tends to neglect internal migration, involuntary migrants, and the role of gender; there are only a few exceptions, such as King and Skeldon’s study about interconnection between internal and international migration (2010), van Hear’s study of forced migrants (1998), and Lutz’s work on gender in migration process (2010). As such, attempts to understand the causes of migration generally do not focus on major problems related to other forms of migration and their links to the labor-based movement (Castles, 2003). As Anderson summarized, “migration policies fail because they are about migration” (2017, p. 1528). He stresses the complexity of migration and its relations to global issues. It seems that there is an increasing agreement among sociologists with regards to the importance of less-examined areas related to the topic (e.g., gender) and the necessity of incorporating these neglected segments (e.g., global inequality) as integral parts of mainstream sociology (Castles, 2013; van Hear, 2010). However, studies that do this are currently very few in number. Castles’ work is a notable exception that focuses exclusively on the major causes of international migration (2013). He presents the paradoxes emerging from the topic of migration and a reduced interest in its major causes, as well as its relationship to national dynamics. The more recent exception is the study of (Khiabany, 2016). He summarizes the reasons for migration as “They (refugees) are here because ‘we’ are there” (2016, p. 760). However, I argue that this approach covers only one side of the same coin and does not cover vicious under development cycles and corrupt political leaders of the developing countries.

Castles summarizes the key drivers and their main links with migration under the titles of inequality, neoliberal globalization and social transformation, state and human security, technology, labor demand, demographic change, politics, law and governance, the social dynamics, and the migration industry. He stresses the importance of gender in two drivers of international migration, inequality, and politics. According to him, national migration rules separate people based on gender and other differences. So, he argues that international migration is the outcome of this inequality (2013, p. 127). Also, Castles explains that gender is one of the variables in the stratification of the global labor market. It helps to understand why some people have unlimited mobility, while others controlled or excluded (2013).

Immigrants may create and add new inequalities in both sending and receiving societies, and along with different scales. Some problems with inequality can be nearly invisible, due to standard procedures in the governing bureaucracy (Blommaert, 2001), “inequality regimes”[1] in the labor market (Acker, 2006), and language-related obstacles (Fuller & Vosko, 2008). Some inequalities may lessen or disappear over time, but most normalization does not come quickly. The decisions of receiving societies with regards to normalization, a sense of sharing, and the general acceptance of newcomers may require experiences with and feedback from immigrants, and rich history with migration.

Research has shown the importance of history and considering a variety of experiences, such as with issues like gender, racial order, and the color line (Bonilla-silva, 2004; Fox & Guglielmo, 2012; Lee & Bean, 2007), academic performance (Hillmert, 2013), definitions of “us” versus “them,” and a sense of nationalism in opposition to an historical other (Triandafyllidou, 1998). Studies like that conducted by (Fuller & Vosko, 2008) are lengthy to complete (in that case, 15 years), especially when comparing the labor market effects produced by immigrants’ residency as opposed to the experiences of native-born citizens. The assessment of the immigrants’ integration to the labor market in destination countries requires their long-time skills such as overcoming language barriers and other problems. Fuller and Vosko’s study stresses this point and “highlights the salience of gender relations in shaping workers’ experiences of insecurity in different types of temporary employment” (2008, p. 31). Therefore, examining existing inequalities (i.e., those tied to gender, race, and immigration status) within and between nations at different levels and in a variety of places, as well as their association to emerging inequalities, could be useful to understanding the causes of migration and the role of immigrants in social change and transformation.

Understanding Gender in Existing Inequalities of International Migration

Castles argues that “Migration control is really about regulating North-South relationships and maintaining inequality. Only when the central objective shifts to one of reducing inequality will migration control become both successful and – eventually – superfluous” (2004, p. 224). There have been several essential attempts at both the national and international levels to regulate migration and incorporate patterns of global inequality. However, they mostly have failed. Thus, we first need to show the structures that produce this inequality in international and national institutions and the role of gender in existing inequalities.

The early international migration studies have neglected the role of women in the labor market of destination countries and their participation in the household decision-making process of migration. Thus, the role of gender is described with a male bias of research. According to these studies, men migrate for labor, and women join them later as dependents. However, Kofman provides the three different stages of gender breakdown to the labor market in destination countries, women’s participation in migration decision-making, and women’s autonomous migration with the examples from Europe. She claims that many academics do not examine gender in migration studies due not the lack of data, “but rather to resistance to acknowledging autonomous female migration” (Kofman, 1999, p. 274). So, it is possible to find some evidence for gender division in the existing inequalities of migration by scrutinizing literature.

In recent decades, global inequality has reached its highest level in history (Castles, 2013). International organizations have emerged as institutions of equal representation of states. However, their role in lessening inequality has been exaggerated because Western countries have, over time, become increasingly involved with inter-governmental organizations (IGOs)[2] and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs); developed countries are especially powerful when acting through INGOs. The role of international non-governmental organizations in leading state policies on important topics like education, science, and war is impossible to ignore. Western states lead to the world in political power, feeding cultural conflicts. Also, some developing countries continue to select dictators who create new tensions. The active membership of developed countries in international organizations allows them to take a primary role in global and national polities (Beckfield, 2003). Thus, while developed countries continue to prevail in INGOs,[3] the ability of INGO policies to actually lessen inequality is debatable. Also,’ employment in international organizations are still at low levels, though it is increasing. The women employment in the United Nations increased by 27.7% in 2000 to 36.8% in 2010, while the European Commission passed from employing 21.1% of women in 2000 to 29.5% in 2010. However, almost three out of four women employment is at the non-management or middle-management positions (ISPI, 2012). Thus, women stay underrepresented positions in these organizations looking for equality.

Although economic migration studies have increased in number, we continue to know little about how migration and immigrants affect income distribution in terms of both sending and receiving societies and on national and global scales. Existing theories have not fully addressed the issue. Goesling (2001) underscored the incomplete evaluation of global income inequality as derived from current sociological theories such as that of world systems since such theories address only a single aspect within or between nations. However, the world’s income inequality is the sum of all inequalities (i.e., gender, race) within and between countries.

Discussions of income inequality have focused on the boom in migration despite globalization, as well as other factors. Trade between the developed and developing worlds affects average pay levels, negatively impacting less-skilled jobs in developed countries. Also, high profile, educated, and skilled immigrants have the potential to exacerbate inequality because they increase job competitiveness, especially with regards to highly skilled jobs. While some studies have considered the economic consequences of immigration, sociology has not paid sufficient attention to the topic (Alderson & Nielsen, 2002). However, there is a growing sociological interest to the issue in the last decade.

Inequality studies misinterpret the topics, such as the differences between temporary and full-time jobs available on the labor market. Internal and external dynamics have changed over time. For example, full-time employment is declining while temporary employment is increasing; temporary workers earn less money than their full-time counterparts, and new immigrants’ participation in the labor market is less than that of other groups. Also, language barriers and other obstacles cause late labor market integration for immigrants and can result in the production of new inequalities. (Fuller & Vosko, 2008).[4] Fuller and Vosko examine how gender and immigration status affect temporary employment. They found that gender-based inequality is not uniform and varies by type of employment. For example, the public sector provides more equal opportunities than the private sector for women (2008). Thus, the internal dynamics of the labor market and their links to gender and migration should be further evaluated to obtain a better understanding of economic inequalities. Also, it is important to examine the labor market as a producer of inequality, because even in the US, local and regional decisions related to the labor market are completely different (Acker, 2006).

Another neglected field related to the evaluation of immigrants’ gender inequality is their emotion-based decisions. Svasek (2010) summarized possible answers to questions about the relationship between immigrants’ economic disparities and their emotional decisions. This study showed that the profound need that motivates forced migration is regularly denied or misconstrued because of expert codes that support passionate separation and prevent the offering of proper preparation programs. Inequality is perpetuated when forced immigrants first meet with authorities. The desire of Western countries to decrease the number of immigrants is demonstrated by the legal integration process. Ehrenreich and Hochschild have analyzed the emotional costs of labor migration in terms of gender and other differences. They show that global inequalities are not the only reason for women labor migration. Gender and generational inequalities in the division of care work both in sending households and in receiving households also play a large part in shaping the causes and consequences of women labor migration (Raghuram, 2004).

Racial and Ethnic Inequalities

Migrants’ social structures take an intermediary role between state policies and the migrants themselves. However, developed countries dominate the related organizations, affect this relationship, and turn it in favor of receiving countries (Beckfield, 2003). Immigrants’ limited language capabilities and Western countries’ standardized process of immigration (i.e., forms, documents) that is used to decide key issues of immigrants’ lives may serve to obscure their actual experiences. The decisions they make are affected by assumptions formed by the authorities about “sharedeness” (Blommaert, 2001, p. 445).

Moreover, inequality can vary over time. The color line was different in the past for groups like Italians, the Irish, and Jews in the US. They have not accepted as whites and discriminated. After 9/11, Muslims and Middle Easterners are facing the same inequalities and discrimination (Acker, 2006). Scholars have argued that the racial order is changing, but alternative suggestions still categorize Whites at the top and Blacks at the bottom.

Key differences emerge between former and new immigrant groups. At the individual level, these differences are mostly related to gender, education, skin color, relative power, and other issues. Though some groups, such as Asians and Eastern Europeans, have experienced race-related problems, they seem now to be completely naturalized. However, Blacks remain in a problematic position, even though they have a deeper history than their counterparts of different colors. The civil rights era changed, and in some ways, normalized some discriminatory situations in American society. Blacks remain a long-suffering group. Latinos[5] seem to be better off than Blacks in terms of their journey across the US’s racial borders (Bonilla-silva, 2004). Affirmative action lessens the effects of elite networks and provides an opportunity for minorities and immigrants of different origins. However, “advantage is hard to give up” (Acker, 2006, p. 455). The structures (i.e., nations) of different scales (i.e., micro- and macro-levels) tend to preserve their power and privilege. It is difficult to abandon the opportunity for the sake of equality and universal good.

Another obstacle to understanding equality is related to male bias in evaluating existing gender data (Kofman, 1999) and the limited comparative data and methods available in the field. Goesling summarized the methods and data available to inequality studies, finding that most scholars used mean logarithmic deviation (MLD) and/or Theil’s index method (1967), and the data were derived mostly based on regression estimates from nations’ income statistics (2001). However, these data are problematic and based on estimations made in previous studies. Recent data seem more reliable. Estimates of average national incomes and national population sizes can be obtained from the World Bank. Another promising dataset is the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID), which helps to overcome the limitations of previous datasets and provides an extensive comparative study that includes information from more than 150 countries collected since the 1960s (Solt, 2009). These new developments and adding the role of gender to migration studies will contribute to more reliable comparative studies in the field.

PART III: Gender and Integration

The experiences of international migrants are shaped by factors such as gender, race, age, and class. Gender has a deep impact on the unequal migration experiences of migrants and their incorporation process to destination countries. Thus, it is important to evaluate the experiences of gender groups in each dimension of integration.

Dimensions (Domains) of Integration

In the last century, almost all migrations have been from underdeveloped to developed countries. Such industrial states have political and economic supremacy, and therefore are able to include people of lower socioeconomic levels in their society. Castles (2004) described these industrial societies as politically and culturally framed by nation-states. Generally, their principal aim is to increase national welfare. Western nation-states are contradictory, “with growing productivity and wealth on the one hand, but social misery and class conflict on the other” (Castles, 2004, p. 355). Immigrants and their cultures, values, and norms are considered harmful and seen as a threat to the communities they join. Therefore, they are put through a series of acculturation processes to adapt them to the host society’s values (Castles, 2004).  Menjivar supports this idea by showing the continuing centrality of nation-states in immigrants’ lives (2006). Most research on this topic is based on this hypothesis, as expressed in the literature of integration.

Therefore, attitudes toward and strategies of acculturation (i.e., assimilation, integration, separation, and marginalization) are central issues dominating nearly all of the research on this topic.  Given immigrants’ cultural maintenance and contact with the host community, Rohman and colleagues defined acculturation attitudes as follows: “integration: desire for culture maintenance and desire for contact with host society; assimilation: no desire for culture maintenance but desire for contact; separation: desire for culture maintenance but no desire for contact; marginalization: no desire for culture maintenance and no desire for contact” (Rohmann et al., 2006, p. 684). Although integration and assimilation are different in terms of both meaning and concept, they have regularly been used interchangeably. Depending on the types of acculturation strategies employed, immigrants tend to prefer integration rather than assimilation. However, members of the host country often demonstrate less favorable attitudes toward multiculturalism and generally prefer assimilation (Guimond, De Oliveira, Kamiesjki, & Sidanius, 2010).

Part 1 suggested that there was no single, comprehensive, generally accepted theory of immigration studies and gender issues have been neglected in the theorization of migration. However, certain dimensions and approaches have been put forth, such as: (1) initiation and perpetuation, (2) micro- and macro-perspectives (3) push-pull, etc. Also, some studies which incorporate gender into the theorization of migration have shown there. Ager and Strang presented another multidimensional, comprehensive approach to immigrant integration, according to the following framework: (1) means and markers (i.e., employment, education, housing, and health); (2) social connections (i.e., social bonds, bridges, and links); (3) facilitators (i.e., language, cultural knowledge, and safety); and (4) foundation and citizenship (Ager & Strang, 2008).

This design describes the core domains of integration studies (Ager & Strang, 2008).

Some scholars stress the importance of ‘time’ in these dimensions. According to them, duration[6] of immigrants’ residency can positively affect the social integration, and migrants’ homeland education, where they come from, movement motivation may more effective at first entry to receiving country then disappear over time (Martinovic, van Tubergen, & Maas, 2009). I add two more emerging concepts, identity and religion to cover whole recent literature about the dimensions of integration. Also, I evaluate the experiences of different gender groups in each domain of integration to include the migrants’ incorporation process fully. 

Means and Markers

These are seen as the public arena of integration. State policies and academic research frequently focus on these areas.


Given the immigrant integration process, employment has historically been one of the most researched issues (Ballarino & Panichella, 2018; Cheung & Phillimore, 2014). Labor market integration[7], underemployment, the ideal number and selection of migrants, economic performance, employment conditions, and public belief[8] about immigrants and their employment process have all been discussed extensively (Fussell, 2014; Hainmueller & Hiscox, 2007; Janus, 2010; Menjivar & Abrego, 2012). However, little attention has been given to the employment experiences of people with different gender identities. One possible reason for this is the lack of disaggregated migration data based on gender. There is a growing interest on sex-disaggregated data, especially in the last decade. The migration institutions under the United Nations and European Union have been collected more migration data based on sex and age. These data allow for the analysis of inequalities and employment experiences of women and men. However, gender is more than women — more data needed to understand the unequal experiences of each gender group and practice appropriate policies for their vulnerabilities.

Employment is a key basic element of integration and has a positive effect on the other sectors and the overall process. Economists generally accept the positive role of immigration on American economic development. However, migrants’ impact on low skilled job market competition is more controversial, and there are different findings according to time and space (Waters, Kasinitz, & Asad, 2014). In general, the studies have found the positive effects of labor migrants, especially in the US context. Yet there are certain barriers that migrants often encounter in the labor market. Also, the characteristics (i.e., market conditions, work conditions, wage conditions) of destination countries in the economy can cause different experiences for each gender group. For example, many immigrant women in receiving societies are seen as dependents and often admitted to temporary pink-collar jobs. Immigrants – including highly skilled and qualified migrants – tend to be employed in lower-paying jobs that do not equate to their knowledge and skill. Barriers and under-employment can undermine refugees’ relationship with their host society, and negatively influence integration (Xypolytas, 2018). Gender groups other than men are more vulnerable to experience inequality in labor markets of destination countries.

Highly-educated migrants, labor market, and gender

The literature shows that highly-educated immigrants’/refugees’ participation in the labor market is at deficient levels, especially in Europe. However, a few studies oppose this by claiming that the number of highly skilled migrants are growing since the 1990s in the US (Lowell, 2010). Most frequently provided reasons for high unemployment rates of migrants are the language barrier, different labor market characteristics of the host countries/regions, and human capital. However, the findings of most literature are disputable and limited since they frequently compare two or three countries and do not evaluate the changing factors among host institutions (Kogan, 2006). In the American context, highly educated immigrants (that is mainly, Asians) seem similar to their native counterparts since their participation to labor market follows the same path (i.e., graduate school to the job market) as natives. The professional immigrants educated abroad transit job market after accomplishing required experience and language ability (R. Alba & Nee, 1997). Recent studies argue ongoing problems such as the obstacle to participating specific skilled jobs (Erel, 2010), segregation towards refugees (Tian, Wang, & Chia, 2018), language domination in particular jobs (Lan, 2011), the disregarding talents/qualifications of highly-skilled immigrants (Tian et al., 2018) even they accomplish required things of the labor market, and gender gap (Donato, Wakabayashi, Hakimzadeh, & Armenta, 2008; Ho & Alcorso, 2004; Korteweg & Triadafilopoulos, 2013; Read & Oselin, 2008; Yuval-Davis, Anthias, & Kofman, 2005). Donato and her collaborators found problematic employment conditions, especially for women, and showed significant gender differences in the US labor market after 1993 (2008). Ho and Alcorso have examined the migrants’ labor market experiences based on their gender in the Australian context. They found evidence of gender effects in job market participation. According to their findings, skilled women’s job market participation was less than their male counterparts, even at the same visa category (2004). Korteweg and Triadafilopoulos have shown job market gender inequalities in the European context (2013). Another study has found that “highly educated migrant women are twice as likely as highly educated native-born women to be employed in low-skilled jobs, with highly educated third-country migrant women having the highest incidence of de-skilling.”

(Rubin, Rendall, Rabinovich, Tsang, Janta, & Oranje-Nassau, 2008, p. 33). All these studies are essential to show the job market’s participation gap between women and men. However, more data needed to evaluate other gender groups’ experiences in the same contexts.


Migrants generally have lower incomes compared to the averages seen by citizens of their host country. Therefore, living spaces tend to be insufficient and poor (R. D. Alba, Logan, Stults, Marzan, & Zhang, 1999). Although some achieve better conditions over time, most continue to live in adverse situations. Studies have focused primarily on housing conditions (Rebhun, 2009), while the social and cultural impacts of housing have been ignored (Ager & Strang, 2008). Also, neighborhoods (Trevizo & Lopez, 2016), spatial assimilation (Argeros, 2013; McAvay & Safi, 2018), and residential segregation (Dill, Jirjahn, & Tsertsvadze, 2015) are among the topics discussed by scholars and policymakers. Significantly, such studies have found that immigrants tend to live in groups (i.e., according to ethnicity, race, religion, etc.), separate from their host society (R. D. Alba et al., 1999). However, residential places of refugees are more diverse than labor migrants since their settlement has been decided by the US authorities (R. Alba & Nee, 1997). Also, historical destinations of immigrants (that is mainly, Mexicans) are changing, and they are dispersing to new places (Marrow, 2009).


School participation and educational attainment are basic indicators of successful integration and immigrants’ relationship with the host people. The education system and policies (Teltemann & Schunck, 2016), school participation (Sassler, 2006), and educational attainment/achievement (Wilkinson, Santoro, & Major, 2017) are oft-reviewed topics in the extant research. Such works have revealed that people with high levels of education are more quickly integrated into and accepted by the host community and labor market (Hainmueller & Hiscox, 2007). Adsera and Chiswick found that education is more important for immigrant women in Europe (2007), whereas, Read and Oselin found that education has a weak influence on ethnic migrants, primarily Arab American women’s job market participation (2008).

Countries implement and support a number of educational policies to better integrate migrants into society. These policies may have positive effects on immigrants’ social inclusion (Ham, Yang, & Cha, 2017). For example, Kanaiaupuni found that highly educated Mexican women are more vulnerable to migrate to the US (2000). However, migrants face certain obstacles that have negative impacts. Learning the local language and discrimination by fellow schoolmates are foremost (Ager & Strang, 2008). In addition, the right to education in their language and flexible education curricula are often unobtainable or restricted.


Both the conditions and social aspects of immigrants’ health have been examined; topics addressed include health outcomes, physical health, mental health, and health assimilation (Kraeh, Froese, & Kim, 2016; Mood, Jonsson, & Laftman, 2016). Host states prefer healthy individuals when considering admission. Health risks and disease are potential threats to the welfare population. However, migrants are often able to access the necessary health services provided by state agencies, and thus cannot benefit sufficiently from mainstream healthcare (Ager & Strang, 2008). Women are more vulnerable to face health problems in both transit and destination countries (UNFPA, 2018).

While tolerant behaviors and a desire for inclusion increase immigrants’ connection with members of the host country, discrimination leads to psychological distress and segregation (Noor & Shaker, 2017). Though four core domains (i.e., employment, education, health, and housing) have been discussed heavily by scholars and policymakers, there currently exists no comprehensive method for classifying, measuring, and comparing immigration policies, nor is there a common method for categorizing and gauging integration policies (Beine et al., 2016, p. 828). This is one of the fundamental gaps of means and markers.

Social Connection

“Social capital refers to features of social organization, such as networks, norms, and trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit” (Putnam, 1993, p.2).

Social capital theory has brought a new dimension to integration studies. Consequently, an increasing number of studies have been conducted that examine the connections among migrants within their communities, with members of other communities, and with institutions (Alencar, 2018; Tegegne, 2018). These can be grouped into three main classes: social bonds (i.e., relations within a community); social bridges (i.e., relations with other communities), and social links (i.e., relations with institutions) (Putman, 1993; Woolcook, 1998; Portes, 1998).

Research in this field has generally considered immigrants to be social actors and examined their relationships, social networks, and participation in the host community. The bonds, social networks, and levels of participation of stakeholders are the most common integration parameters. Also, these parameters show differences based on gender. Curran and her collaborators argue that “gender relations affect the migration process, in part, because gender influences the information and trust available through migrant social capital, as measured by trips and experience and as observed at different levels – household and village” (Curran, Garip, Chung, & Tangchonlatip, 2005, p. 227). Moreover, family networks are more important for women’s migration than men’s move (Kanaiaupuni, 2000). Social bonds (i.e., family, ethnicity, and religion) have various benefits (e.g., providing employment, housing, feelings of safety, etc.) and promote successful integration (Cheung & Phillimore, 2014). Through activities such as birthday parties, meals, sports, tours, etc., social bridges can be built between migrants and local hosts. However, analyses still reveal strong segregation and polarization (Windzio, 2012). This diversity in studies may be related to social capital’s “episodic, socially constructed and value-based” characteristic (Cheong, Edwards, Goulbourne, & Solomos, 2007).

Also, most of the studies use strong ties such as marriage to understand social integration levels of specific immigrant groups (Kim, 2009; Martinovic et al., 2009). However, weak ties, such as immigrants’ leisure time activities with natives, may be more informative about the social integration transformation of migrants over time (Martinovic et al., 2009).

Most scholars have agreed that social relationships contribute positively to integration. However, studies addressing different migrant groups have concluded that social bridges and social links are often weak and inadequate; in contrast, social bonds were found to be strong. Both immigrants and host members generally prefer close ties with friends from their communities.


Language and Safety

Language as a facilitator has been considered central for integration and discussed extensively in the literature (Akresh, Massey, & Frank, 2014; Nieuwboer & van’t Rood, 2016). Ager and Strang (2008) argued that the state should remove language and cultural knowledge barriers and provide safety and security in order to facilitate integration.

Language proficiency directly links to and benefits other domains of integration, such as employment, education, social connections, etc. It also broadens one’s social networks (Cheung & Phillimore, 2014) and provides social power in addition to economic opportunities (Nawyn, Gjokaj, Agbenyiga, & Grace, 2012). The importance of language skills for integration can vary based on gender. A study on immigrants in European countries suggests that language proficiency is more crucial for men than women in the integration process. Also, the authors found that migrants’ earnings can be less if their native languages are not the same or close to their destination countries’ languages. This income gap narrow to native people’s earnings approximately after 18 years  (Adsera & Chiswick, 2007). “Language assimilation is viewed as an ongoing, cumulative process and proficiency is a necessary but insufficient condition for integration” (Akresh et al., 2014, p. 9). Inability to speak the local language is considered an obstacle to integration and leads to segregation. In addition, it causes mental health problems and social distress. 


Rights and Citizenship

The immigrants’ legacy in receiving countries may have a significant effect on each dimension of the integration. Illegal immigrants make less money, work in unsafe jobs, refrain from government institutions, and do not search for health care when they compared with legal counterparts (Menjivar & Abrego, 2012). Also, immigrants have different experiences in terms of citizenship and rights based on their gender. For example, lesbian and gay migrants have difficulties in getting citizenship and rights of residence due to destination countries’ laws in Britain and the Netherlands (Binnie, 1997). Another study found that Mexican immigrant men experienced more privileged arena in practicing their citizenship than their women counterparts (Goldring, 2001). Citizenship is often described as a “membership in a political and geographic community,” and it includes “legal status, rights, political and other forms of participation in society, and a sense of belonging” (Bloemraad et al., 2008, p. 154). However, some scholars see citizenship as an insufficiently theorized contract “between the state and the individual” and criticize migrants’ integration and citizenship earning process (Soysal, 2012). Ideally, citizenship brings equal rights to immigrants before the law, but it requires “nationality acquisition” (Koopmans, 2010, p. 3). Koopmans and his collaborators classify the domains of citizenship as cultural acculturation, granting religious practice in public, other cultural rights (free religious attire, public broadcast), political rights, and positive discrimination in the job market (cited in Koopmans, R., Statham, P., Giugni, M. and Passy, F., 2005). However, literature shows that western countries, especially Europe, are not ready to allow religious rights to naturalized migrants (Koopmans, 2013). Also, the literature focuses on elements of naturalization in political integration and neglects voting and other active political participation to civic life (Ramakrishnan & Espenshade, 2001). The rates of migrants’ citizenship are decreasing due to its relationship with the rights “rather than state membership” (Bloemraad, 2006, p. 672). The role of US authorities appears only at the first entry, and legally documentation, the rest of the process is related to the personal choices. Unrecognized refugees (asylum seekers) cannot get most of the official grants (Bloemraad, 2006). Also, public support towards the rights of unrecognized refugees seems negative due to fairness perception that labor migrants misuse refugee rights by claiming asylum (Louis, Duck, Terry, Schuller, & Lalonde, 2007).

On the other hand, undocumented immigrants’ legal status affect their integration process to receiving country negatively and not surprisingly increase their origin states relationships (Menjivar, 2006). Although Inter-Governmental Organizations (IGOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) struggle for the rights of immigrants (Bloemraad, 2006), studies show the NGOs’ efforts to help refugees to get social rights are very limited (Nawyn, 2011) and the studies do not cover migration agencies. So, we know less about the feelings, ways, and solutions of migrants against the receiving authorities’ policies (Bloemraad et al., 2008). Also, the academic debate needs a human rights perspective to cover the missing points in the migrants’ integration process (Menjivar & Abrego, 2012). Below, I add two more important concepts to Ager’s (2008) classification that has been reviewed often in the literature: identity and religion.


Immigrants’ identities, and particularly their gender, religion, ethnicity, race, age, generation, and social-economic status, have all been heavily discussed (Brown & Brown, 2017; Czymara & Schmidt-Catran, 2017). Also, some studies stress the diversity of immigrants when compared with the past (Donato & Armenta, 2011; Koopmans, 2013). Moreover, new findings show that the period of the migration flows effect immigrants’ identity formation (Jimenez, 2008). Researchers have attributed to immigrants/refugees a common identity and not considered them individual human beings (Grzymala-Kazlowska, 2016, p. 1124). The concept of integration does not adequately encompass issues of psychosocial adaptation, such as identity and a need for stability, though identity has become a crucial category for both theoretical considerations and sociological research due to its significance to understanding individuals and society as a whole (Jenkins, 2004).

A common approach is to assess the impacts and consequences of policies applied to a particular group in a given host country. There are two main forms of integration policy: (1) pluralistic, multicultural, inclusionary, and tolerant; and (2) rigid, exclusionary, and discriminatory. A common finding is that sufficient success has not been achieved; displaced people are not fully able to participate in their host societies and instead tend to be isolated in their neighborhoods.


Religion has examined from different perspectives in literature. The immigrants’ religions labeled “as a threat to social cohesion” (Castles, 2007, p. 356), have seen problematic especially in West European context (Foner & Alba, 2008), seen as an influencer of the incorporation time (Portes & Borocz, 1989), and the strengthener of the nationalistic character (Triandafyllidou, 1998) with other traits of language and culture in early acculturation contexts in western societies. In recent studies, religion appears as one of the main identifier of immigrants (R. Alba, 2005; Bloemraad et al., 2008) and mostly seen as a main issue/problem especially in European context (Foner & Alba, 2008; Freeman, 2004) in contrast to American context[9] (Hirschman, 2004). Also, some European countries’ migration policies based on gender and religion have created discrimination against ethnic minority women, in particular, Muslim women by forcing to abandon their religious practices (Korteweg & Triadafilopoulos, 2013). Recent studies stress the hostility against Islam in the integration process (McLaren & Johnson, 2007). It seems Muslims’ racialization appears as a hot topic in integration discussions now, similar to Catholic and Jewish displaced persons of the past. Also, the studies neglect variation between migrants’ origin Islamic states and the religious transformation over time (Voas & Fleischmann, 2012).

PART V: Conclusion

Individuals have always moved to develop their living and to be safer throughout history. Migration has seen as an important part of production and development (Castles, 2013; Ibrahim, 2005). Migrants have diverse effects on sending, transit, and receiving countries. So, the reasons and consequences lay behind the migration, and the mobility of migrants are topics of interest of broader sciences (i.e., sociology, law, economy), institutions (local, regional, global), and the public.

Migration is not an old subfield for sociology, which has developed partially in specific types such as international and economic migration for men (Castles, 2003). Other conditions, types of migration (i.e., internal migration, forced migration, climate migration), and the different experiences of other gender groups have been constantly ignored. Theoretical studies heavily discussed the lacks of old immigration theories, which have borrowed from other disciplines (that is, mainly economy) in the field. Massey and his collaborators have presented and summarized some of these theories as an integrative approach (1993). The most accepted contribution of sociology has been the migration networks in the selected theories of Massey and his colleagues (Castles, 2010). However, Massey et al.’s study has been criticized for disregarding some essential elements (i.e., time, space, meso level) to understand the migratory process and not including other types of migrants (Bakewell, 2010; Castles, 2007; van Hear, 2010). Following Massey et al.’s study, recent studies have a consensus on the covering missing parts of the migration field. Most of the scholars share the idea of a need for developing the migration topic in mainstream sociology topics such as gender, race (Ibrahim, 2005), inequality, and social transformation (van Hear, 2010). However, there are still very limited comparative, inter-disciplinary, or connecting studies in the neglected areas of the field (Adamson, Triadafilopoulos, & Zolberg, 2011; Castles, 2003) with a few exceptions such as the Ayers’ and collaborators’ study which defines immigration as an integral part of race issues (Ayers, Hofstetter, Schnakenberg, & Kolody, 2009). Besides data, measurement, and interpretational problems in the field (Ceobanu & Escandell, 2010; Solt, 2009), the roles of global issues, politics, and media make the understanding and development of the area highly complicated.

An important point while examining the dimensions of integration is the method and data used in these studies. Most of the scholars such as (Portes, Fernandez-Kelly, & Haller, 2009) have frequently used the longitudinal analysis to examine the integration processes of the different generations, but multi-disciplinary (especially historical, political, and economic) perspectives and comparative large data samples are still required for the development of integration studies. Also, sex-disaggregated data can be found today, and it helps to understand the different experiences of women and men. However, more data needed to understand the unequal experiences of each gender group and practice appropriate policies for their vulnerabilities.

Although migration is a human movement, the scholarship constantly ignored the centrality of human in the topic (Aydiner, 2018). Migration has labeled as a “security problem” (Gilbert, 2009), instead of production, development, and embedded element of global transformation (Castles, 2013: Ibrahim, 2005). The development of the field requires overcoming the vicious cyles of politics, partially representation of the objects, poor science approach, and usage of inappropriate data and measurement. New studies may develop middle-range theories in appropriate with time and space to create a better understanding and solutions in the migratory process linked to social change as a whole (Castles, 2010).

The main question of this research paper was meant to address is the interconnectedness of migration topic with broader mainstream issues (i.e., gender) at multi-levels. Will the sociology of migration develop by overcoming the continuing problems? Although there has been an increasing agreement related to the necessity of covering the missing parts of the migration science, the embeddedness of the topic to global issues and politics would continue to affect the development of the field. However, seeking independent and inter-disciplinary research bodies to examine the whole migration process for each gender groups may be more productive for the development of the migration studies.



* Cihan Aydiner is a PhD Candidate at Louisiana State University and non-resident research fellow at Beyond the Horizon ISSG.









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[1] This refers to “loosely interrelated practices, processes, actions, and meanings that result in and maintain class, gender, and racial inequalities within particular organizations” (Acker, 2006, p. 443).

[2]“Examples of IGOs include the International Labor Organization and the International Organization for Migration. Examples of INGOs include the International Chamber of Commerce, International Islamic Charitable Organization, and the International Red Cross” (Beckfield, 2003, p. 405).

[3]INGOs are said to be universal and equal (i.e., have no hierarchy), but in practice they are not.

[4] However, Fuller and Vosko do not search for self-employed groups. Therefore, when these groups’ data are added to the study, the levels of inequality among groups (e.g., immigrants and natives, men and women) are likely to be more than what the findings indicate.

[5] However, the predictions about the increasing population (together Asians around 40% of the nation by 2050s) of Latinos could create new policy restrictions for them (Fox & Guglielmo, 2012).

[6] Migrants’ time of span is also important to understand political incorporation (Ramakrishnan & Espenshade, 2001).

[7] van Tubergen and his collaborators’ study makes a distinction among labor market participation studies by examining multiple migrant ethnicities in multiple receiving countries for more than two decades. They find that political suppression in homeland, wage gap, and geographic distance have an influence on migrants’ job market participation (2004).

[8] The findings of Hainmueller and Hiscox is significant because contrary to former literature they find that even in the job market competition highly skilled and educated natives across Europe support all forms of migration regardless of their ethnicity (Hainmueller & Hiscox, 2007).

[9] Some possible explanations of why religion is different in Europe and USA include the religiosity of the societies, the role of religion in social construction, the size of the people from different religions (Most scholars say, it is Islam now). Zolberg and Woon show how size matters in their comparative study of Islam and Spanish (1999). The illegal immigrants, mostly Mexicans have surpassed 12 million and they settle different geographic places than the past in US contextual debates (Marrow, 2009). Also, Foner and Alba point another possible reason, integrity of state and church in Europe perceive other religions as an obstacle for immigrants’ integration (2008).



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