Immigration and Women

Women Immigrants' Plight Articulated in New Book Authored by ECU Sociology Professor

U.S. immigration is a highly charged topic that tends to conjure images of men waiting on the side of the road for construction jobs, working in kitchens, driving taxis and sending money home to their wives and families. Women are often left out of these pictures.

“Immigration and Women: Understanding the American Experience,” a new book out this April and co-authored by East Carolina University sociology professor Susan Pearce, is a national portrait of immigrant women who live in the United States today. The book features the voices of these women as they describe their contributions to work, culture and activism.

Through the use of U.S. Census data and interviews with women across nationalities, Pearce and her co-authors reveal the poignant, humorous, hopeful and defiant words of immigrant women. Immigrant women often deal with multiple confusions when beginning their new lives, caring for children and families, venturing into the workforce, producing creative works and championing for social change.

“We recommend changes for public policy to address the constraints these women face, insisting that new policy must be attentive to the diverse profile of today's immigrating woman: she is both potentially vulnerable to exploitative conditions and forging new avenues of societal leadership,” says Pearce.

Pearce is an assistant professor of sociology in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at ECU and co-editor of “Reformulations: Markets, Policy and Identities in Central and Eastern Europe” and “Mosaics of Change: The First Decade of Life in the New Eastern Europe.”

“Immigration and Women: Understanding the American Experience” is co-authored by Elizabeth Clifford, associate professor of sociology at Towson University in Maryland, and Reena Tandon, Sessional Lecturer in South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. The 320-page book is published by New York University Press and is available for $26. For additional information, contact Pearce at 252-328-2544 or