Research paper

Gendered Migration of Upwardly Mobile Young Roma Women 1. Introduction The main purpose of the present paper is to describe analyze how migratory patterns and motives vary regarding ethnicity and social group. I will analyze to what extent the migrant behavior of “upwardly mobile” highly educated young Roma women from Bulgaria is similar to that of poor Roma and upwardly mobile Bulgarian women 1. By saying behavior I mean the motivation in taking decision for migration including the act of migration, and the attitude toward living in a foreign country. Although I concentrate on Bulgaria, my findings could be applied to other countries in Eastern Europe. There are several studies which examine the Bulgarian migration to Western Europe. However, while these studies include classifications of migratory behavior, the migratory behavior of Roma minorities is barely mentioned. There are no studies which focus on Roma migrants by gender and class/strata. The lack of literature regarding Roma migration provokes my interest to examine the intersection of strata, gender, ethnicity, and age. My research shows that young Roma and non-Roma highly educated women follow mostly similar patterns for migration. For Roma and non-Roma students the main push factor in leaving Bulgaria is the lack of opportunities for building a career in their home country, and the poverty trap. The pull factor to migrate to Western Europe is the opportunity to realize themselves in the labor market. However, upwardly mobile and highly educated young Roma women also have greater motivation to migrate to Western Europe than upwardly mobile Bulgarians2. I have found that reasons related to ethnicity, such as the greater extent of discrimination and the poverty trap that the Roma face in their home country are push factors for upwardly mobile Roma. My findings support the argument of Durst (2002) that social isolation is a specific motive for migration of the upwardly mobile Roma. In the next section I will discuss the methods and data sources used in the micro research I conducted and I will highlight the limitation of my findings. Then I will turn to the theoretical framework of the research. After that, I will analyze the migratory motives and patterns of two Roma girls (upwardly mobile ones), who are students in France comparing to those of Bulgarian students in France. In the last section I will summarize my findings and suggest possible further studies vis-à-vis Romani migration to Western Europe from a gender perspective, as well as further research regarding the upwardly mobile group of Roma.

2. Background information and methods

and they are aware of the field of my study. they were surprised by the particular topic and the social group I chose to focus on for the purpose of my research paper. I asked specific questions about how they decided to migrate and to choose further education as form of migration. Vesela is in the first year of her studies in France. Her mother is of Roma origin. Any. one via Skype. Neither of them is married. According to Durst. My second interviewee. as his mother is Roma. Any is a second year student. which were crucial for taking that decision. who are in a better social position than poor Roma. and shared her experiences without restraint. her father is a typical upwardly mobile Roma. which suggests similar migration behavior as well. graduated primary school teachers in Bulgaria. Any and Vesela are 27 years old. continuing my education in a foreign country) my migrant behavior is similar. and has similar life strategies (including a positive attitude toward education). ethnic group of Roma. Both have known me for years. who recently have studied in France. Having said that. is of Roma origin.In her article. statistical surveys and reports. In this paper I expand the term “upwardly mobile” to include highly educated Roma. where one of the parents is Roma. this group is similar to non-Roma. both Any and Vesela supposed my research to be in that field. . I assume that my personal history eased the analysis of the interviews and the data. To reduce their biases I did not mention the topic of my current research before or during the interview. I posed questions concerning their place in French society comparing it to their background in Bulgaria Being acquainted with my interest in gender studies. obtained by other sources such as articles. During the interview I first asked them to share information about their background. Nevertheless. At last. Supposedly. who usually come from Roma families as well as to the second generation of upwardly mobile ones. Next. One of those girls (Vesela) comes from a mixed marriage. I also raised queries about their intention to settle in France and the reason. upwardly mobile Roma are women living in mixed marriages. which to some respect may create biases in the research I conducted. both her parents are Roma. Vesela felt comfortable. “Fertility and childbearing practices among poor Roma women in Hungary: the intersection of class. the fact that I have a friendly relationship with them has contributed to the success of the interviews. By the second generation of upwardly mobile Roma I understand the children of upwardly mobile Roma described by Durst and those born in mixed marriages. As being Roma myself and having a similar background (I graduated in Bulgaria at the faculty of pedagogy. and his father is non-Roma. and another one in a written form with two Roma students from Bulgaria. In Dusts’ research. and considering the questions asked. I conducted two semi-structured in-depth interviews. sex and gender” Durst uses the term “upwardly mobile” to describe a social.

Even though. or statistics analyzing Romani patterns and motives of migration by gender and class. Kováts 2002. 2006). Baldwin-Edwards. Bulgarian students select the higher education as form of migration and that group. to Western Europe are the better opportunities to build a career compared to their home countries. 3. Baldwin-Edwards. Study of Kovacheva 3 have shown that crucial motives for the migration of the educated women from post-socialist countries. studies. Eastern-European women face a higher level of gender based discrimination in the labor market in their home countries (Rangelova 2005). I will analyze the migrant behavior of this social group. In order to protect the privacy of my interviewees I have changed their names. the upwardly mobile ones have similar life strategies to non-Roma (Durst 2002). Durst argues that upwardly mobile Roma are also segregated. According to the statistic survey of 2002. The motives and patterns of gendered migration from Eastern to Western Europe have been studied recently. Romania and Bulgaria see themselves as refugees. Theoretical considerations There are no existing surveys. According to a survey. and a survey of from 2008 (Markova 2010). including Bulgaria. Roma migrants from post-socialist countries. such the former Yugoslavia. they do not interact with the poor Roma or non-Roma. What is crucial in taking the decision to settle down of Western Europe for “upwardly mobile” young Roma women? How similar is their behavior to upwardly mobile Bulgarian ones? How similar is it to that of poor Roma? I am looking at highly educated upwardly mobile young Roma women from Bulgaria who is in a better social position than poor Roma. 2006). similar migratory behavior. Generally.The research is limited in the sense that I interviewed only two people. the social group I am looking at. Rangelova 2005). which as Durst points out. more commonly than other groups choose permanent migration. I will see if Durst’s finding is true in the Bulgarian context. Discrimination that the Roma face. for Roma from Eastern Europe only two factors are argued to be crucial in taking a decision to migrate and settle in Western Europe: economic and ethnic reasons (the hostile attitude toward Roma) (Corsi 2010. leads them to a quest for better life in Western Europe. using the case of Roma students. National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria. The pattern I am looking at is the case of highly educated young women from Bulgaria. and supposedly. who are now students in Western Europe. Several research approach the migratory behavior of the highly educated Bulgarian women as well as that of the young Bulgarian women students abroad (Markova 2010. is even higher for Roma women than for Roma men. whose backgrounds are very similar. seeking asylum in Western Europe (Kováts 2002. There is no existing literature which examines the migratory behavior of highly educated upwardly mobile young Roma women. .

which result in practices of early marriages. As Durst quotes one of her interviewees: “there is no future in this village” “My family was different. that was not only my case. . This is seen as a strategy to escape the poverty trap (Durst 2002). They did not ask me to marry earlier. the discrimination within the community (even though the interaction with poor Roma are limited) is also a factor for taking a decision to move to a more developed area. higher education could not be reached by poor Roma girls. They always wanted me to continue my studies. Indeed. The passage above adds to the explanation given by Durst why “upwardly mobile” Roma (women) move out of the homeland area.4. the isolation for the “upwardly mobile” Roma girls. “My family supported constantly supported me. Besides. they were making fun with me just because I was not married and I decided to studies not to be average Roma women with any future. Durst (2002) argues that Roma women in Hungary face greater extent of discrimination in the labor market. using the opportunity to study and work abroad”. meanwhile they were so rude with me. both poor Roma and non-Roma is another reason for leaving the home area/country (Durst 2002). and the education of the children within the family). Upwardly mobile Roma differ from poor Roma. I was educated with the idea that there is no future in my city and the best opportunity after finishing my studies at the university would be the emigration. Analysis What are the patterns and motives for upwardly mobile Roma women from Bulgaria to migrate to Western Europe? How similar are the patterns and motivations to those of non-Roma or similar to those of poor Roma? The study asks how motives and patterns of migration differ regarding ethnicity when migrants belong to same/similar social stratum. The other Roma tried to persuade me to get married. compared to non-Roma and to Roma men. Besides. I was sad to leave them and to move to another city to study at the university. not like the other Roma. Besides. it was always harmful to here those kind of gossips that’s why I avoided them. some of my schoolmates at the high school as well as those from my faculty moved to Western Europe as I did. the former have the financial possibility to invest in the education of their children. I was aware and I probably would leave them. moving to a better geographical area is also seen as a very important goal (life-strategy). in a quest for a better life. my Bulgarian schoolmates saw their prospects abroad as well. I had my mother’s example”. Due to the poverty trap (the insufficient income of the family for supporting its needs. Social isolation faced by. living on social benefits. Anyway. Poor Roma girls have limited opportunities to realize themselves in society as well as in the labor market. My grandfather and my mother were supporting me.

Why to study? Because I don’t want to work in a low paid job. France is my second homeland. But they are typical only in terms of the migration patterns. The different attitude toward Roma.Now. just to survive. I’ worked at school for a while when a one teacher was on sick leaves. the ethnicity-based discrimination influences the motivation of migration. I’m accepted as I am. but not the motivation. This point of view is similar to that of non-Roma “upwardly mobile”girls. My interviewees are typical examples. a significant percentage of them migrated to Western Europe.By analyzing the interviews not only do “upwardly mobile” Roma see reaching high school as goal. 2010). On one hand. It is too hard to be highly educated and without any prospects. According to Baldwin-Edwards(2008)4 young women. without stereotypes. I think. 2010). The rates of the migration of the Bulgarian teachers are a significant example for that theory. According to survey of Rangelova from 2005 Bulgarian students tend to be potential. I want to realize myself and to build a successful carrier. That’s why I decide to move to France and to study. The French universities are one of most frequently chosen from Bulgarian students abroad (Rangelova. My findings show that the motivation is different for Roma and non-Roma. those two social groups have same strategy to seek opportunities for building career in Western Europe. They both (upwardly mobile Roma and non-Roma) see limited opportunities in the labor market in their home country. from Eastern Europe move to West because in their home country. Regarding to the economic crisis after the end of socialism and the lower birthrate. do not have the an opportunity to realize themselves in the labor market The fact that they are Roma complicates the situation further and limited their chances to build a carrier. permanent migrants. In Bulgaria even if I would have 10 diplomas I would remain for them (for ethnic Bulgarian) Gypsy girl with capital “G”…. Here absolutely sure. 2005). Hence. confirms the problematical situation of the highly educated “upwardly mobile” ones. As young teachers. . which influences their choice for leaving the country /taking into account that in Western Europe the level of gender based discrimination is relatively lower (Baldwin-Edwards (2008). explains the higher migratory rates of women (comparing to that of men). Most of the Bulgarian teachers are women (Markova. which in combination with the segregation in the labor market. Any and Vesela. as well. As a result. many of them dropped out of the labor market (Markova. I’m receiving different attitude toward me comparing to that I faced in Bulgaria. Here. but further education. they are facing high level of gender-based discriminated in the labor market. The stated by Vesela below. the reason is my ethnicity.

Bibliography: . Yes. how migratory behavior of “upwardly mobile” Roma. Upwardly mobile Roma (especially highly educated young women). In addition. The research proves the theory that for Roma (women) ethnical reasons are major push factor to migrate from Eastern to Western Europe. Accepting that in the East as well in the West gender-based ethnic discrimination exists (Corsi. is proved by the above claimed and weaken the theory. in regard to geographical area. Diversity of Romani subgroups. differ from poor Roma and upwardly mobile non-Roma (women) in terms of motives of migration. could be explained. The theory which argues that Roma migration to Western Europe is more complex. not only based on economic reasons. and living country supposes differences in living strategies. my ability are important and appreciate. here. but to be classified according to their social status and gender. Discussion and conclusion . If those theories would be true. which presents that ethnicity as minor factor for Roma migration as well as the theory. which are not analyzed. As the research have shown upwardly mobile Roma (women). my work is rewarding not my connection. which sees Roma migration based as solely to poverty. as a social group present a different image of Roma. adds: Here. 4. but also due to the greater level of ethnicity-based and gender-based discrimination that they face in their home country. 5. they are more than six million migrants… people got used to this. However. further research and classifications concerning Roma as compound group are needed. here as well as in Bulgaria I’m facing discrimination but here people are more tolerant. Their migratory behavior is an example for the need Roma not to be seen as one homogenous group. leave their home country in quest of better opportunities for building career and to escape from the poverty trap. The analysis of the interviews.Vesela. suggests that a pull factor (what attracts migrant in the host country) for upwardly mobile Roma is the lower level of discrimination they experience in France. Not only do highly educated Roma women. The study is an attempt to describe the patterns and motives of Roma migration regarding ethnicity and social group. 2010) the lower level of discrimination is a pull factor for women from minorities.

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