Migrant girls in Shenzhen: gender, education and the urbanisation of aspiration

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This paper examines the impact of rural-urban migration on primary-school-aged migrant girls in China, providing important data on this unexplored group as well as drawing several larger conclusions about the evolving relationship between migration and women’s autonomy. Much recent literature has focused on Chinese young unmarried women migrants. However, there has been no attempt to distinguish migration’s effects on children by gender, and little research on the “new generation” of married women migrants. This paper focuses on two aspects of migrant girls’ wellbeing, education and migration satisfaction, comparing girls’ assessments with those of their parents, particularly mothers. It analyses differences between girls’ and parents’ views, arguing that specific parental concerns about daughters shape girls’ futures in a way not applied to migrant boys. A further, broader, implication of this analysis is that certain benefits of migration, previously thought to apply exclusively to single women, extend also to married women, influencing mothers when forming goals for their daughters’ futures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-338
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • Migration
  • China
  • Girls
  • Children
  • Education
  • MIgrants
  • Gender
  • Wellbeing


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