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Variables associated with the employment and occupational status of Southeast Asian women refugees Bunjun, Bénita

Abstract

There have been numerous studies on the economic, social, and emotional lives of the Southeast Asian refugees (Adelman, 1982; Beiser, Johnson, & Roshi, 1994; Haines, 1989; Neuwirth, 1984; Nutter, 1984; Whitmore, Trautmann, & Caplan, 1989), yet the lack o f focus on Southeast Asian women refugees is prevalent. Human capital theory explored Southeast Asian women refugees' unique settlement experience as workers in Canada. Data from the Refugee Resettlement Study, " A Ten Year Study of Southeast Asian Refugees in Canada" (Beiser et al., 1994) was used to examine the employment experiences of women from Vietnam and Laos who came to Canada as refugees. The majority of the women were employed and were in jobs with low occupational status. Logistic regression was used to analyse variables associated with employment and occupational status. High English language proficiency was associated with being employed and having high occupational status. In addition, being younger increased employability. When the individual items within the English language proficiency scale were assessed, ability to read English and low ethnic concentration promoted employability. Ability to write English and low ethnic concentration increased the likelihood of having higher occupational status. This study contributes to the limited literature on refugee women's human capital accumulation and employment experiences during settlement in the host country.

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