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Relationships Between Domestic Workers, Gender and Migration

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 1407 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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          Parreñas studies the battles of Filipina domestic workers in Italy and the United States the ways through which, in a global market, Filipina women entered the global workforce with dreams and desires of an excellent life. Chapter one describes the migration of domestic workers from the Philippines. It defines the ways of movement for Filipino domestic workers-direct, serial and step-wise.  It analyzes the state-construction of Filipino domestic workers, introducing the theory of partial citizenship, which refers to the absence of full citizenship rights granted to migrant domestic workers at both ends of the migration spectrum (Parreñas 2015:18 ). Chapter two reviews  the idea of the “international division of reproductive labour, ” which is referred to in the literature as the “care chain.” This idea applies to the exchange of caretaking duties among women who outsource care to other women to take part in the labour business.  Members in this shift of care work frequently involve the professional woman who hires a migrant domestic worker to care for her children, while that domestic worker, in turn, depends on or hires a woman left behind in the Philippines to care for her children (Parreñas 2015). Chapter three portrays how the transnational family is the famous family system among migrant domestic workers. It implies that they are a part of a family whose individuals are staying in more than two nations. Despite not occupying the same house, families in transnational family share assets, preserve a feeling of shared trust and duty for each other’s well-being and support the responsibilities required of them as a family.  Three sorts of transnational families are one-parent, two-parent, and grown-up kids, transnational families. This chapter defines how the transnational family fits the experience of the pain of family division (Parreñas 2015). In this essay, I will attempt to offer a loose explanation of the complex relationships between domestic workers, gender and migration.

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         Firstly, the global political economy has contributed to the rise of the severe global distribution of reproductive labour. In this diaspora, the majority of the domestic workers comprised of women. Through lengthy interviews, participant observations in both Los Angeles and Rome, and study data collected in Rome, Parreñas explores the struggle of Filipina migrant domestic workers in two global cities, that is, Rome and Los Angeles. Her analysis is based on thorough ethnographic work, investigates the conforming lives of Filipina domestic workers through the lens of four key systems, nation-state, family, employment, and the migrant population, in two diverse political economies. She argues, Filipina migrant domestic workers in both cities are confronted with dislocations,“ meaning the positions that marginalized members of society occupy as a result of external forces. (Parreñas 2015:26 )” Including partial citizenship, the division of family and the establishment of transnational families, the different class movement, and the politics of non-belonging. As domestic workers, the women oppose the separation of descending movement that results from migration by maintaining and taking advantage of their higher social position opposed with that of the more unfortunate women they contract to be their domestic workers back in the Philippines.

          Furthermore, in numerous settings, strong forces between women’s work as migrant domestic workers and existing division classes of labour, and this usually focus on the ideals of motherhood. Parreñas (41) writes of a global commodification of caretaking that appears as a various hierarchical chain of reproductive work: domestic workers are caring for others children, while their kids are being cared for by relatives, for the most part, women or by local domestic workers. She indicates a paradoxical outcome that mother-child relations diminished to commodity-based, with affection displayed by material things. Looking for more outstanding financial security for one’s kids runs inseparably with an absence of affection and expansion in emotional instability. Clearly, because of the expectations for conventional mothering, such types of transnational mothering are frequently considered inadequate. Hoffman explores the ways by which Moroccan women have driven the chronicles of the feminization of Tashelhit as uneducated ladies overburdened with rural and day by day family work to become social and political symbols of the protection of the Tashelhit language and Ashelhi Berber status.“Women bore both the material and symbolic responsibilities for maintaining the land and the Tashelhit Berber language so closely associated with it (Hoffman 2008).”The men emigrate to the urban centers of Casablanca for daily work, the oral nature of Tashelhit, and the preservation of agricultural populations as isolated from and more genuine than the urban centers, fell mainly on the shoulders of women who are left behind to manage the land, and  the language and traditions of the indigenous Ashelhi Berbers. Global racial division of reproductive labour remains with the heritage of imperialism and colonialism drains labour-sending countries of important work assets. It supplies labour-receiving countries with much cheap female labour while allowing them to avoid the obligation of reproducing the migrant community and trick their full assimilation into host societies as citizens with rights.

          Finally, in some settings where women’s migration goes against the grain of established ideas of domesticity, morality, and parenthood, their employment overseas has grown into a topic of political discussion. Parreñas writers how global migration frequently impacts both the migrants and their family. Through heartbreaking stories by moms and kids, we come to notice how with economic profit comes emotional pain, a viewpoint within migration literature that has  mainly ignored until now.“They were saddened by my departure…The children were not angry when I left because they were still very young when I left them. My husband could not get angry either because he knew that was the only way I could seriously help him raise our children so that our children could be sent to school.  (Parreñas 2015:57 )” Women, feel a feeling of satisfaction in receiving money, can increase the spectrum of acceptable means to cherish their kids and care for their relatives. As opposed to other parts of the world where women often are seen as symbolically representing the male dominance, “women are often equated with body, nature, passion, secrecy, shame, and the private domain (Ghannam 1963)”.Now women are permitted to do things that no one but men can do like work outside the home before they get married and even get a divorce. Moreover, the view of the women who stay at home and care for the family of migrants have also changed, as they demonstrate a developing awareness of the market value of women domestic work.

          To sum up, this essay has explained the complex relationships between domestic workers, gender and migration. Parreñas skillfully captures the complex nature and flexibility of family and society structures, the women adaptive methods with both local and global economic realities. Also, her nuanced studies convey the women’s fragmented existences, astutely avoiding any essentializing representation of Filipina domestic workers.

References Cited

  • Ghannam, Farha, 1963Live and die like a man: gender dynamics in urban  Egypt.BookChapter.Introduction: masculinity in urban Egypt.Atlas Systems, Inc. Ares.0804783284
    Hoffman, Katherine E 2008We share walls: language, land, and gender in Berber Morocco.BookChapter.Introduction: staying put.Atlas Systems, Inc.Ares.1405154209
  • Parreñas, Rhacel Salazar 2015Servants Of Globalization. 2nd edition. Stanford: Stanford University Press


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