Re-Inscribing Gender Relations through Employment-Related Geographical Mobility: The Case of Newfoundland Youth in Resource Extraction

  • Nicole Power Memorial University, Newfoundland
  • Moss Norman University of British Columbia
Keywords: Gender, Youth, Alberta, Newfoundland, Resource Extraction, Fort McMurray, Employment, Mobility, Mobile Workforce


Despite the popular representation of the masculine hero migrant (Ni Laoire, 2001), rural youth scholars have found that young men are more likely to stay on in their communities, while young women tend to be more mobile, leaving for education and better employment opportunities elsewhere (Corbett, 2007b; Lowe, 2015). Taking a spatialized approach (Farrugia, Smyth & Harrison, 2014), we contribute to and extend the rural youth studies scholarship on gender, mobilities and place by considering the case of young Newfoundlanders’ geographical mobilities in relation to male-dominated resource extraction industries. We draw on findings from two SSHRC-funded research projects, the Rural Youth and Recovery project, a subcomponent of the Community-University Research for Recovery Alliance (CURRA) and the Youth, Apprenticeship and Mobility project, a subcomponent of the On the Move Partnershi We argue that the spatial coding of gender relations in rural Newfoundland makes certain kinds of mobilities more intelligible and possible for young men, while constraining women’s. In other words, gender relations of rural places are “stretched out” (Farrugia et al., 2014) across space through the mobility practices of young men and women in relation to work in skilled trades and resource extraction industries. These “stretched out” gender relations are reproduced by the organisation of a sector that relies on a mobile workforce free from care and domestic work and familiar with manual work.