Good Mothers, Bad Mothers: Transnational Mothering in the European Court of Human Rights’ Case Law

In: European Journal of Migration and Law
Author: Fulvia Staiano1
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  • 1 Department of Law, European University Institute, Badia Fiesolana, Via dei Roccettini 9, I-50014 San Domenico di Fiesole (FI), Italy
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Transnational mothering presents significant challenges to immigrant women. In addition to the gendered expectations originating from their own communities and cultures, transnational mothers may also have to cope with gendered notions of ‘good parent’ underlying national and European immigration regimes when pursuing family reunification with their children left behind in their countries of origin. Against this background, the European Court of Human Rights can constitute a benchmark for ensuring transnational mothers’ equal access to family reunification vis-à-vis legally sanctioned and gendered models of ‘good mother’, provided that the Court itself is capable of recognizing said models and avoiding to reproduce them. Thus, this article explores the Strasbourg Court’s case-law on transnational parents’ access to family reunification with the aim to unveil the actual capability of the Court to support a gender-sensitive enforcement of national and European family reunification regimes as well as transnational mothers’ access to family reunification in conditions of equality.

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