Date of Degree

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Karen Miller

Subject Categories

Gender and Sexuality | Migration Studies | Race and Ethnicity

Keywords

Feminism, Domestic Work, Filippines, Morocco, migration, migrants domestic labor, global south, domestic workers' abuse, violence, human trafficking, modern slavery

Abstract

In studying feminist theory, I discovered that domestic and care labor are often gendered and racialized. They are gendered because they are performed almost exclusively by women, and racialized because in western societies they are often relegated to women of color or migrant women. Feminist literature provides that migrant domestic labor often entails a migration flow between countries of the global north and countries of the global south and between countries that are economically disparate. Feminist theorists often criticize political economic and social structures reproduced by neoliberalism, globalization and neocolonialism for creating a global market for migrant domestic and care labor and exposing migrant domestic and care workers to oppressions that include but are not limited to, sexual and physical violence, low wages, few or no benefits, and long work hours. What my research has shown is that domestic and care labor migration flows can also occur within and between countries of the Global South and that the oppressions some of these women face are the result of locally pre-existing notions of gender, race and domestic labor, such as the fact that in Morocco domestic labor is viewed as dishonorable work, that only women should be responsible for this kind of labor, and that somehow, Filipina women’s ethnic and racial identities make them better at it. I suggest that because of the history of slavery, and it being a prevalent phenomenon in Moroccan society as late as the 20th century, the collective imaginary of the Moroccan society continues to hold ideals and principles of domestic and care labor having low value in society, and that it should therefore be relegated to marginalized groups. I also argue that domestic and care work are not simply viewed as women’s work because of the role that women play in procreation but also because there is an apparent devaluation of womanhood and female bodies. I use my research to prove that the oppressions faced by migrant domestic workers across the globe are the result of deeply held local and traditional notions on race gender and labor, working in conjunction with the other factors feminist theorist suggest including neoliberalism and globalization.

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