Gender Related Social Groups

The very nature of immigration creates different types and structures of social groups compared with life in Taiwan. Owing to dispersed settlement there is not much overlap in the personal networks of Taiwanese Americans between kin-group members, coworkers, neighbors, fellow parents, and members of common-interest associations. Residence of immigrant families is almost always neolocal. Since both husband and wife, once they have become naturalized citizens, are entitled to sponsor a brother or sister to become a permanent resident of the United States, relatives of both sides of the family are treated equally. Patrilineal relatives are not necessarily favored over matrilineal kin-group members. However, in many instances relatives move to different and often distant neighborhoods after their initial phase of accommodation in their sponsor's home.

Middle-class and upper-middle-class Taiwanese Americans rarely rely on kin-group members alone in their adaptation to their new social and economic environment. Instead, former classmates are an important source of emotional support and information (Avenarius, 2003; see S.-L. Wong & Salaff [1998] on similar findings regarding Hong Kong Chinese immigrants). Actual former classmates (tongban tongxue) often establish fictive kinship relations once they locate each other in the United States (e.g., become each other's ganmei).

In general, relationships between fellow alumni (tongxue) of a high school or university back in Taiwan play an important role in the social and economic circles of Taiwanese Americans who arrived in the United States as graduate students. The relationship between individuals who share the experience of attending the same school is one of five prescribed relationships of similarity in traditional Chinese culture and comes with the expectation to be each other's resource in times of need. Chapters of alumni associations which represent prestigious high schools and universities in Taiwan exist all over the United States, predominately in California. These associations have more male than female members, since fewer first-generation women had achieved higher education at the time of immigration. However, the alumni association of Taiwan's most prestigious high school for women, Taipei First Girl's High School, is well known among Taiwanese Americans in the United States and its members are influential in both business and community activities.

Of the numerous other common-interest associations in first-generation Taiwanese American communities, such as cultural, political, professional, recreational, and religious organizations, only recreational organizations are decidedly gender oriented.

Second-generation Taiwanese Americans have founded fewer ethnic social organizations than their parents. Many join Asian American organizations at large which have no gender-specific membership structure (Ho, 2002).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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