Migrant girls between reality and literature within the nineteenth and twentieth centuries


  • Michela Baldini Department of Education, Languages, Intercultures, Literatures and Psychology - University of Florence




female migration, girls, narrative, inquiries, nineteenth century


The numerical smallness of the female migratory flow compared to the male migratory flow has long been considered the reason for the scant coverage of this event, estimated to be about 20 per cent of the total departures between 1876 and 1914. However, this figure only considers the “official” expatriations of which one can easily get a record thanks to passport records. However, a large part of the migration remained hidden due to its clandestine nature, not to mention that, often, surveys tended to divide migrants between men, women and, in the best of cases, minors, children whose sex was often not even specified. The phenomenon of migration thus deserves a focus through a gendered lens that can bring to light those paths of girls that constitute a significant part of our country's migration. To provide a rough idea of the elements that contributed to the formation in the collective imagination of the figure of the migrant girl child, we propose a parallelism between the image provided by the narrative for childhood and the portrait that emerges from the testimonies of lived life.