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Special Feature. Chinese Women: Becoming Half the Sky?

The Migration of Women from Northern China: A Gender-oriented Choice?

Florence Lévy
Translated by Will Thornely
p. 43-51


Since the late 1990s, a little-known wave of Chinese migrants has been making its way to France. Coming from regions with no tradition of international mobility, it differs from classic migratory flows in that it consists mainly of urban middle-class women in their forties who are affected by the reform policy. Drawing on the point of view of these female migrants regarding developments in the job market, their economic resources, and changes in family relations, this article examines the transformations in social norms and gender roles that affected these people before their departure. It considers whether these developments have had an impact beyond China’s borders, and whether they may have influenced the gender configuration of this migratory flow making its way to Europe.

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Electronic reference

Florence Lévy, « The Migration of Women from Northern China: A Gender-oriented Choice? », China Perspectives [Online], 2012/4 | 2012, Online since 01 December 2015, connection on 27 May 2017. URL :

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About the author

Florence Lévy

PhD student at the Centre d’études de la Chine moderne et contemporaine (CECMC) (Research centre on modern and contemporary China), École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) and Neuchâtel University.
Centre d’Études de la Chine Moderne et Contemporaine (CECMC), EHESS, 190-198, avenue de France, 75013 Paris, France (

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