Stories of Vietnamese Women making of Men into their Feminist Allies

Kieu Nga Nguyen, Helen McLaren, Lorna Hallahan

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


For centuries people have migrated from one place to another for a range of reasons. This may include famine or poverty, fleeing war or oppressive political regimes, educational or employment opportunities in want for a better life. Migration can be forced, chosen, permanent or transitionary. This paper reports specifically on the short-term migration journeys of Vietnamese women who are international post-graduate students in Australia. Twenty women were interviewed about how they experienced and negotiated their transitions in parenting, family life and their adult relationships as part of their transitory journeys. As an interdisciplinary feminist phenomenology, the Janus Head provided a lens in which to: interpret the women’s acts of looking back at the patriarchal context from where they have come; the sense making of their lives in Australia’s more feminist responsive lifestyles; and, their uncertainties in looking forward at their imagined futures of returning to Vietnam on completion of their studies. The women told their stories of navigating the patriarchy in Australia, challenging their men’s mindsets about gender performativity in parenting, relationships and family life. Most of women expressed a sense of success in bringing their men, as feminist allies, into a more gender equitable family space. However, the Janus Head of looking back and looking forward held the women in a state of limbo. While they celebrated their men as allies in their own liberation, at the same time the worried that ending their post-graduate studies could mark the return to their former gendered lives.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2019
EventThe 5th World Conference on Women's Studies: Activism, Solidarity and Diversity: Feminist Movements Toward Global Sisterhood - Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: 25 Apr 201927 Apr 2019


ConferenceThe 5th World Conference on Women's Studies
Abbreviated titleWCWS 2019


  • women
  • migration
  • international students
  • gender


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