Experiences of Indian immigrant women in the United States: Empowerment, inequality and intersections of race, ethnicity, class, and gender




Karbhari, Shilpashri

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Texas Woman's University


This study explores the narratives of first-generation Indian immigrant women working and residing in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. With a focus on gender in the context of immigration, this study asks three questions: In what ways do Indian immigrant working women perceive a sense of empowerment before and after migration? How do race, ethnicity, class, and gender intersect with their experiences in the workplace and the family? How do Indian immigrant women negotiate structural inequalities in the US? To arrive at a nuanced understanding of their experiences, 17 interviews of female immigrant workers in the DFW area were conducted. Participants in this study were recruited via purposive and snowball sampling techniques. After transcribing their interviews, the data was analyzed using NVivo qualitative software. Central to this study, were themes such as Dimensions of Empowerment, Indian Immigrant Women: Issues of Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender, and Forms of New Inequality. Findings reveal that for immigrant women, migration is a complex process and that empowerment is not linear. Issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and class appear to overlap with each other in society. With regard to forms of new inequality, working women share certain commonalities including structural constraints and conditions within the labor market. In conclusion, this study highlights the need for future research on issues of gender and immigration in the context of women belonging to the South Asian Indian community.



Social sciences, Class, Empowerment, Ethnicity, Gender, Indian immigrant women, Inequality, Intersections, Race