Migration from the countryside of Guatemala to the U.S. works as a livelihood strategy to improve the livelihoods of many households. Households send one or several of their members as an investment and insurance to improve and secure their livelihoods. My research question asks how migration affects those who are left behind, with particular reference to women. To answer my research question I use the livelihoods approach to explain how the migration works, as one of several livelihoods strategies, to complement the livelihood portfolios of the households. The livelihoods approach uses the household as the unit of analysis. Those who are left behind are individuals and primarily women. Hence, I find it useful to complement the theory by defining power and empowerment to additionally explain the mechanisms deciding intra-household relations.
I find that the migration strategy contributes to secure the material asset base of many households in Guatemala. Furthermore, I find that migration does not empower women. Rather, migration leads to a strengthening of the structures preventing women from making their own decisions. In this thesis I discover social networks, Facebook in particular, especially relevant when studying the migrant networks and bonding social capital created by these. The thesis reveals how the migration to the U.S. also is led by a desire to achieve algo más