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Negotiating class, femininity and career: Latin American migrant women entrepreneurs in Spain

International Migration

Published online on


This article analyses how the gendered and classed positions of migrant women explain the meanings of becoming an entrepreneur and the role of their spouses in their occupational trajectories. Using a translocational positionality approach, the article challenges the claim that women escape patriarchal domination by establishing their own businesses. The narratives of 35 Latin American women entrepreneurs in Spain reveal that becoming an entrepreneur is conditioned by class‐based ideas of masculinity and femininity. I argue that middle‐class Latin American immigrant women become entrepreneurs to promote their spouse's career advancement while conforming to class‐based norms of femininity. In contrast, lower class Latin American women view the business as a space of autonomy and occupational upward mobility that nevertheless also complies with working‐class definitions of femininity. The policy implications of these findings relate to making class aspirations central to the support of labour market integration and empowerment of migrant women.