A Study of Ethiopian Immigrants in Toronto by Ilene Hyman

A research on the Ethiopian immigrants in Toronto was done by; Ilene Hyman, Sepali Guruge and Robin Manson. Their main concern was the impact of migration on marital relationships among the newcomer Ethiopians in Toronto. The purpose of this essay is to review the research and the methodology used.

The Ethiopian population in Toronto is growing hastily. There were 35,000 Ethiopians in Toronto by 2001, according to the Ethiopian association in Toronto. Ethiopia is a war torn country and many of its citizens have sort refugee status in other countries. However, only a small percentage of Ethiopians have migrated to Europe. Most of the immigrants surveyed could not speak French or English when they entered Canada.

The survey on the female immigrants revealed that face challenges like unemployment, discrimination, housing, loss of social status, culture shock, language barriers and lack of credibility for employment. However, experiences for the women have not been the same. For some relocation gave them cost-effective sovereignty and administrative power within their households.

On the other side, there are those whose position within their family has not changed.  Researchers believe that change in gender role that comes about due to migration is responsible for most of the marital conflict. This is especially so if the change in gender roles is not matched by a change in perception and attitude in the spouse (Jewkes, 2002).

The report is concerned with the impact of migration on marital relationships among newcomer communities, with an emphasis on Ethiopians in Toronto. The authors investigate what effects migration has on marriages and how the couples adopt to the new circumstances. The research data was derived from married, divorced and separated couples that had recently migrated from Ethiopia to Toronto. The aim of the study was to find out the changes in the lives of new Ethiopian immigrant couples and the impact the migration had on the change in their marital relationship.

Importance of the research

The location of marriage in the civilization today needs to be carefully assessed. Cases of break up, separation, marital aggression and physical attack are on the rise.

Past sociology, research has not given attention to the effects of migration on society and the impact on the family structure. Therefore, it is very significant to study the results that migration has on marriages.

The methodology used

The research had two phases; to evaluate the risk of marital conflict among Ethiopian couples who had migrated to Canada. (Phase 1); to examine conflict among Ethiopian men and women who were divorced or separated after migration to Canada (phase 2). The objectives for the research were set, participants recruited, data collected and then analyzed (Ottawa, 2001).

For the first phase participants had to be Ethiopian immigrants who were married or living together pre-migration. Both partners had to give their consent for the process.

The second phase targeted couples that separated or divorced post-migration. Various methods were used to attract participants such as newspaper ads, flyers at Ethiopians social events, word of mouth and so on. Participants for the first phase were easier to recruit compared to those of the second phase. Honorarium was given for participation; $50 (phase 1) and $75 (phase 2).

Data was collected through interviews and demographic questionnaires. The survey also included the past of the pair preceding migration. Two Amharic-speaking Ethiopians, trained in research (male and female) assisted in data collection.

This was commendable in order to overcome any language barrier. The participants were given a choice as to who should interview them whether, male or female. However, according to the report a pre-test indicated that the participants did not give preference to any particular sex.

The participants were interviewed separately so that the presence of the other spouse could not influence their response. After analyzing, the data collected from the interviews focus groups were formed according to sex. The aim of the focus groups was to verify or refute the findings of the data collected.

Focus groups were however, not conducted for separated or divorced couples. The Ethiopian community associated some kind of stigma due to divorce. This was evident due to the low turn up of divorced couples.

All the interviews and focus group debates were put on audio tape, written down and interpreted into English. The findings of the research focus on several themes such as; change, adaptation, conflict and resolving differences among the couples (Attaca & Berry, 2002).