Thesis

The Obligated Generation/La Generacion Obligada

This thesis explores migration of women in the United States from EL Salvador from the 1970’s to 1985 who took initiative to migrate to Los Angeles, California before any men in their family. Within familial expectations, they were obligated to leave everything behind and contribute to their family’s household through remittances. This thesis focuses on the social and gender barriers that these women broke by migrating first before any male in their family. The purpose of this research is to document the strategy and process of migration among women that emigrate before any male in their families. I used oral history interviews to collect qualitative data about how these women came to make their decision to migrate to the United States. I interviewed eight Salvadoran women and asked a series of questions about their immigrant experience. The research also uses data and statistical evidence on immigration from El Salvador in that particular period of time. All the women migrated pre-civil war and the beginning of the civil war. The results of the research help us to understand how Salvadoran women were viewed by society for migrating first, how much approval or encouragement they got from family members, how gender roles came to play while the husband or boy friend stayed behind, and how after so many years in the U.S., they continued to feel the obligation to help their families in El Salvador.

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