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Research at Wilfrid Laurier University explores migrant women’s challenges

At a glance
The intern

Denisse de la Peña Barajas from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico 

Hosted by

Dr. Jenna Hennebry, International Migration Research Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University

The research

The experiences of female migrants and their patterns of sending money earned abroad back to their countries of origin

Denisse de la Peña Barajas has had a longtime interest in gender studies. She is completing her undergraduate degree in political science at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, and throughout her degree, she’s been looking for research opportunities on the topic.

As luck would have it, Denisse got an email from her university’s international office, sharing the opportunity to come to Canada for a Globalink Research Internship. Denisse — curious about the country after taking a class in North American culture — applied to several projects with a gender studies component, and was matched with Dr. Jenna Hennebry, Director of Wilfrid Laurier University’s International Migration Research Centre in Waterloo, Ontario.

Denisse’s project explores the experiences of female migrants and their patterns of sending money earned abroad back to their country of origin, known as remittances. The research team is exploring the topic in Mexico, Moldova, and the Philippines, with Denisse focused specifically on data from her home country. It is the third and final part of a series of three reports written for UN Women, which explore migration processes faced by women.

She’s also working on another project under Dr. Hennebry’s supervision — this one explores migrant women’s sexual health, and Denisse will be travelling to St. Catharines, Ontario, to undertake fieldwork and interview migrant women working in agriculture in the region. She will have the opportunity to get to know the conditions of temporary women migrants working in Ontario’s fields.

In addition to her research projects, Denisse is also finding time to explore her surroundings: “I took swing dance lessons, which was especially fun because we don’t have a lot of that in Mexico,” she enthuses. “I went to Niagara Falls, and I hope to visit Toronto later in the summer.”

Denisse’s Canadian experience is making her excited for the future: “I want to apply do to a master’s degree at the Balsillie School of International Affairs or the University of Toronto, with support from the Globalink Graduate Fellowship. I can’t wait to come back, and I want to finish my bachelor’s degree as soon as I can.”

 


Mitacs would like to thank the Government of Canada, along with the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, and the Government of Quebec for their support of the Globalink Research Internship program. In addition, Mitacs is pleased to work with international partners to support Globalink, including Universities Australia, the China Scholarship Council, Campus France, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development, Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education, and Tunisia’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Mission Universitaire de Tunisie en Amerique du Nord.