In this article, Stacey Lee examines the phenomenon of low educational participation and achievement among Hmong American women. She argues that the focus on cultural differences as the sole explanation for this fact ignores the existence of economic, racial, and other structural barriers to Hmong American women's educational persistence and success. Lee shares the stories of several Hmong American women who are pursuing or have completed higher education in the United States, investigating the factors — economic, racial, and cultural — that helped or hindered their decisions to continue their education. These women are part of a movement within the Hmong community that questions traditional expectations for women and girls, in particular early marriage and motherhood. Lee illustrates how these women's experiences are also shaped by social factors such as welfare policies and racism. Their stories demonstrate that cultural transformation is neither a smooth nor unambiguous process.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.