An exploratory study of the life of the single Asian immigrant woman in Winnipeg : implications for social work practice

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Ong, Amoy Yuk Mui
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This study explores the life experience of single Asian immigrant women in Winnipeg (over a four-month period of time). The sample consists of eight single Asian immigrant women who are residents of Winnipeg. All have been residing in Canada for two to five years with ages ranging from 21 to 58. The study uses an exploratory qualitative methodology with a two-tiered interview strategy. The first part of the interview is structured and focusses on gathering socio-demographic data. This is followed by an open-ended, in-depth interview which explores the life experiences of the participants. The study identifies five major themes which describe the single Asian immigrant woman's experience: 1) "Being Lost Between Worlds and Insecure"; 2) "Being Isolated and Lonely"; 3) "Being Anxious"; 4) "Being Different" and 5) "Feeling Trapped". The intensity and importance of these themes varies with the individual. However, they all have experiences attributable to being single, immigrant and female i.e. the so-called "triple jeopardy". While the major problems derive from their being immigrants, these immigration related issues aggravate the experiences of being single and female. The women all seem to cope in their own unique ways with the resettlement problems of isolation and loneliness, unemployment and economic difficulties, and with the societal expectations of being single and female. The most frequent coping strategy mentioned is the need to acquire a spouse. Having a spouse is perceived to resolve all three areas of difficulty at the same time.