Making Rights Matter – Feminized Migration and Political Transnationalism by Nicola Piper Swansea University/UK
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Making Rights Matter – Feminized Migration and Political Transnationalism by Nicola Piper Swansea University/UK



PowerPoint presentation at Gendering Asia Network Conference 28-30 May 2009, Helsinki

PowerPoint presentation at Gendering Asia Network Conference 28-30 May 2009, Helsinki



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Making Rights Matter – Feminized Migration and Political Transnationalism by Nicola Piper Swansea University/UK Making Rights Matter – Feminized Migration and Political Transnationalism by Nicola Piper Swansea University/UK Presentation Transcript

  • Making Rights Matter – Feminized Migration and Political Transnationalism Gendering Asia Network Conference 28-30 May 2009, Helsinki Nicola Piper Swansea University/UK
  • Outline
    • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Feminization of Migration
    • 3. Migrant Labour as Transformative Force
    • 4. Temporary Migration and Political Transnationalism
    • 5. Gendering Political Transnationalism – concluding remarks and future research
  • Introduction
    • Migration and Social Transformation
        • changing gender relations
        • gender equity and equality as part of the democratization process
            • political activism by individuals
            • collective activism by social movements
  • Choice of Title ”Making Rights Matter”.....
      • to flag......
      • social scientific approach to rights ( conceptua l)
      • 2. disjunction between ” rights on paper ” and ” rights in practice ” ( empirical )
      • 3. articulation of grievance/hardship as a rights issue ( normative )
  • Contd.
    • ” Rights” conceptualized here as
      • a political struggle
      • a ’work in progress’
      • = an on-going project
  • Introduction – approach in this paper….
  • In sum, exploring the linkages between migration & democratisation
  • Introduction
    • Does this activism contribute to transnationalization of migrant rights ?
    • What is thereby the role and position of migrant women?
  • Feminization of Migration
      • Feminization widely acknowledged as one key feature of migration today
        • b ut: already nearly 47% in 1960 (48% in 1990)
      • 49.6% of global migrants are women
        • even higher percentages of female out-flows from certain countries
        • = “feminization” actually a misnomer
        • = feminized migration
  • Recognition of the Feminization of migration
    • Connected to following key phenomena:
      • improved statistical visibility
        • but still areas of invisibility (e.g. as wives)
      • 2. i ncreasing participation of women in all migration streams largely in response to:
        • male un- or underemployment in origin countries
        • demand in feminized ‘sectors’ in destination countries
  • Regional Differences in Feminization
  • Feminized Migration
      • Migrant women are generally over-represented in those sectors in which home-state women are also over-represented
        • gender segregated labour market
        • b ut: trend towards increasingly stratification
          • along class, skill (human capital), ethnicity or race
          • = differences betwe e n women
  • Feminized migration
      • More migrant women in manufacturing sectors in middle-income countries
        • i nternational division of productive labour
        • global production chains/global value chains
      • More migrant women in care sectors in rich countries
        • i nternational division of reproductive labour
        • g lobal care chains
  • Labor Market Consistencies
    • Source: POEA (1992-2006)
    • Source: POEA (1992-2006)
  • Feminized migration
    • Migration Policies in Asia
      • temporary contracts
      • employer-tied
      • live-in domestic work
      • transnationally split families
  • In sum….
    • Temporary migration schemes
      • transnationalization of labour markets and labour systems
      • transnational division of labour
      • transnational strategies to win and defend the rights of workers
        • = political responses and processes gendered
  • Migrant labour as transformative force
  • Migrant labour as transformative force
  • Migrant labour as transformative force
    • Labour relations/migration studies
      • ” institutional gap” in area of labour organizing filled by NGOs
          • female workers (EPZs, maquila industry, home-based)
          • migrant workers (female and male)
        • Examples :
        • SEWA in India
        • TENAGANITA in Malaysia
        • Foreign domestic worker unions in Hong Kong
  • Migrant labour as transformative force
    • Global Care Economy and ’Everyday’ (IPE) approach
      • everyday caring activities by care workers
      • notion of ’social reproduction’
      • globalization of commodified care labour
        • notion of ’global care chain’
        • = this does not fit into industrial class framework of conventional trade unionism
        • = yet, commodification of domestic work offers opportunities for worker organizing
  • Temporary migration and political transnationalism
    • ” Docility” Thesis
      • temporary migrants are a-political
      • primary interest in economic gains
      • IS THIS TRUE?
  • Contd.
    • Migration experience raises political awareness
    • Political remittances
      • ” political ” relates to activist perspective
      • ” remittances ” denotes the specific relationship between origin and destination countries
          • inbetween status of temporary migrant
          • shift from ’victimization’ of structural constraints to agency via political activism
  • Definition of political remittances
    • “ The activities, actions, and ideas aimed at the democratization of the migration process (ranging from pre- to post-migration) via political mobilization in the form of collective organizations operating in the transnational sphere. These ideas and political practices are embedded in the social contexts of origin and destination countries’ structural and agential histories, shaped by the migration experience and characterized by multiple directions of flow.” (Piper, forthcoming)
  • Contd.
    • Transnationalization of rights
      • Portability of rights
      • Portable justice
      • Portable membership
        • “ unions without borders” (UNI)
        • i nternational union card (IUF)
        • = transnational organizational networks
        • = transorganizational networks
  • Example of domestic workers
    • ’ migrant activism’
      • migrant turns activist
    • ’ activist migration’
      • trade unionist or NGO activist moves to where the migrants are
      • ’ trained’ activist migrant returns to carry on with activism ”at home”
  • Gendering political transnationalism - to conclude…
    • Migration constitutes one of the central challenges of the future
      • gendered migration an important aspect
        • in areas of social reproduction, marketization of care and responses by political organizations
  • … . making rights matter
    • disjunction between rights ‘on paper’ and rights ‘in practice ’
      • importance of collective activism and role of social justice organizations in conceptualizing and claiming rights
    • specific action at specific time on specific issue
      • political science on ‘opportunity structures’
          • * g ender analysis??
  • Contd.
    • D emocratizing migration
      • through broad-based social activism
        • aggregate account and analysis of various types of organisations involved in struggle for social justice
          • * captured by ’network’ concept and methodology
          • * flow of political remittances (ideas and practices)
  • … future research
    • NETWORK as concept
      • non-hierarchical collaborative arrangements
        • but: is this true from a gender and migrant perspective?
      • fairly open-ended, membership not rigid
      • actor-centred approach to institutionalism
        • ideal unit of analysis linking structure and agency
      • cuts across the ”above” and the ”below”
  • … . future research
    • NETWORK as concept
        • multi-sited (multi-country, multi-level/scalar)
        • multi-issue (e.g beyond ethnicity, type of job)
        • expanding field of analysis beyond the migrant to include non-migrants (e.g. the left behind)
      • here: link to specific studies on ”networks in activism”
        • migrant (women) and rights activism from social movement perspective
  • … future research
    • NETWORK as method
      • networks can be mapped and their relations observed
        • perspective of participating individuals (gender, ethnicity, class position etc.)
        • nodes of intersection networks
        • ” event” research
          • observant participation or participant observation in nodal events