How do remittances and gender constitute each other in the transnational circuits that connect Cuenca in Ecuador and New York City in the United States?
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This thesis examines the mutual constitution of gender and remittances throughout the transnational migration circuits between Cuenca, Ecuador and New York City, the US. The thesis aims to explicate how gender determines remittances and to what extent remittances challenge gender roles and relations in the sending society. It is based upon multi-sited research carried out in Cuenca and New York. I argue that both approaches are demonstrated (Hondagneu-Sotelo, 1992). The gender patterns proved to affect significantly several aspects of remittance process (Mahler & Pessar, 2006; Orozco et al., 2006): gendered labor access (Hondagneu- Sotelo, 2003), parenthood (Pribilsky, 2012), gendered consumption preferences (Guzmán et al., 2006), source, propensity (Abrego, 2009), and sending and receiving patterns, which are also determined by trust in the relationships. Transnational migration proved to foment the potential to challenge gender relations (Grasmuck & Pessar, 1991). On the one hand, migration forces individuals affected by the migration process out of traditional roles: it provides female migrants with greater work prospects and non-migrants with an opportunity to increase their autonomy and emancipation (Ghosh, 2009), and confronts migrants with a society that displays general differences in cultural representations including gender patterns. On the other hand, the potential of change (Lopez-Ekra, 2011) may be deadened due to the traditional power asymmetries in individual relationships resisting change, or upon arrival (De Haas, 2007) due to rigid homeland society.