Mother, wife, or worker: Life course and motivations of remarried mainland Chinese migrant women in Hong Kong

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


A few studies on marriage migrants in Asia and unpublished official statistics on crossborder marriages in Hong Kong have shown a high proportion of remarried women among foreign brides, particularly Mainland Chinese. However, recent studies on transnational marriages examining women’s economic and non-economic motivations of marriage and migration mostly focused on women of first marriage, leaving those of remarriage underexamined. This paper highlights the significance of life course and gendered institutions in understanding the marriage and migration decisions of remarried Mainland wives in Hong Kong. Based on in-depth interviews with these women, it argues that their motives of remarriages vary by life course while their life chances are shaped by institutional factors. Older women with adult children aspired for better job opportunities in Hong Kong while middle-aged and young women remarried for children’s social mobility through better education, or for intimacy and family life for themselves and their dependent children. Instead of simply being guided by “spatial hypergamy” or a “cultural logic of desire”, their marriage decisions are shaped by gendered institutions such as the labor market, local patriarchy, and migration control mechanisms in both the sending and receiving societies, i.e. post-Socialist China and Hong Kong. It contributes to the research on gender and migration by demonstrating the need to appreciate the diversity of marriage migrants in their life course and marital status prior to transnational marriage, as well as the structural/institutional factors which pose constrains on and open up opportunities for these women precipitating in their remarriage decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017



To, C. W.-c. (2017, June). Mother, wife, or worker: Life course and motivations of remarried mainland Chinese migrant women in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the International Conference: Gender, Migration and Economies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.