In Indonesia, female labour migrants of married women has been increasing since the early 1980s (Graham & Yeoh, 2013). Wife (and women in general) migrate to earn more money and have come to occupy the “breadwinner” role in the family, earning most of the household income. Indonesian women travel to work mostly in domestic worker and caretakers in countries such as: Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Based on the data from the National Body for the Placement and Protection of Migrant Workers, in January – July 2017, there are 125.081 international migrants and 63% of them are women (BNP2TKI report, 2017).
Since the number of female labor migrant of married women has been increasing, more study focuses on migrant couples where one spouse has migrated for foreign employment especially specific study on the impact of the physical absence of a wife for temporary migration into the left-behind family included left-behind husband (Hugo, 1995, 2002). There are two dimensions of this study: the wife’s migration and left-behind husband can bring opportunities for family members (women and men) to improve their lives, to equal gender relations. But it can bring new problems as a result of changing in family structures and the status quo of patriarchal power (Piper, 2005).
Previous research revealed positive and negatives implications of mother’s migrants on a left-behind husband but not enough explored in how to a left-behind husband modify and negotiated gender roles and masculinities identity. Recent studies have shown left-behind husband as challenges roles and created problems that related with drinking and drugs behavior as an acted of escape from their reversed emasculated (Parrenas 2008, Graham 2012). Others study mentions the role of the husband modified and negotiate after the wife migrates. When the wife leaves the husband behind with children, studies have shown that the husband adapts to their new role as a left-behind husband (Hugo, 2002).
This study focuses on how left-behind husband modifies and negotiate gender role and their masculinities identity where their wife has migrated for foreign employment. It is examined by theoretical questions such as: is migration disempowering or empowering to men and/or women within their families; are gender roles and gender ideologies (ideas about masculinity and femininity) changed in the immigrant context and, if so, how; what impact does migrant have on social and intimate relationships within households, including relationships of conflict. When wife migrates and becomes the most income earner, this situation will affect left-behind husband and children, and possibly the local community.
Moderator: Pema Yangchan
Oct 24, 2019 Time: 12:30 – 13:30 hrs. Room Srabua (109)