At the Intersection of Gender and National Origin: The Career Trajectories of Selected Immigrants in Quebec

By Julie Lacroix, Alain Gagnon, Vincent Lortie

Differences between immigrants and natives in access to employment are closely linked to national origin and gender. While the disadvantage of non-Western immigrant men is often explained in terms of discrimination and the transferability of human capital, that of immigrant women is typically explained in cultural terms, on the assumption that women’s labour market participation reflects gender roles in their region of origin. Using survey data on selected workers in Quebec, we examine the relationship between national origin and gender in immigrants’ speed of access to employment. The sample consists exclusively of principal applicants from the category of skilled workers in Quebec. Factors linked to “cultural barriers”, which are thought to restrict women’s access to employment, are thus neutralized in the analysis of the different groups, which all consist of individuals selected to enter the labour market. Cox models with interactions show that the effect of immigrants’ gender is combined with that of their national origin, and reveal gender differences in access to a first job which are principally modulated by language skills. In contrast, individuals’ access to a job corresponding to their level of education differs by national origin and is independent of gender.


  • intersectionality
  • gender
  • national origin
  • economic immigration
  • Quebec
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