Diversities 15 (1), 2013: Female Migration Outcomes II

Diversities • Volume 15, No. 1, 2013

Female Migration Outcomes II

Guest Editors: Amber French and Parvati Raghuram

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Gendered analysis of the outcomes of migration: research agendas and policy proposals
by Parvati Raghuram (Open University)
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Precarity, Gender and Work: Vietnamese Migrant Workers in Asia
by Danièle Bélanger (Université Laval) and Linh Tran Giang
(Institute for Social Development Studies Hanoi, Vietnam)
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Abstract and Keywords

Precarity among low-skilled temporary migrant workers in Asia is well documented, particularly concerning migrant women in domestic work in countries of the Gulf region and in East Asia. In this paper, we first examine the intersection of gender and type of work by comparing men and women, but also by comparing women engaged in domestic work and those working in manufacturing. Second, we analyse indicators of precarity through the entire migration process: pre-departure, time abroad, and return. Based on descriptive analyses from survey data collected in 2009 from 499 former Vietnamese migrant workers who worked in Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan between 2000 and 2009, our results indicate differences in (1) moments of precarity, (2) types of precarity, and (3) levels of precarity. This paper unpacks how gender is central to an understanding of precariousness in migration but also how it may intersect with other important variables.

Making the Most of Remittances: Obligations, Aspirations, and Precarity among Indonesian Women Migrants in Singapore
by Theresa W. Devasahayam (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore)
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Abstract and Keywords

This paper examines migrant women’s decisions around remittance expenditures. Going beyond the productive and non-productive framework used in previous analyses on remittances, the argument here is that migrant labour policies of the labour receiving country aside from migrant priorities need to be taken into account in understanding the kinds of consumption practices migrants and migrant households engage in. Ethnographic interviews with twenty-five Indonesian migrant women working in Singapore in the domestic work sector reveal that while women benefit greatly from migration because it enhances their ability to provide for their families back home, the paper shows that decisions on how remittances are spent are closely linked to the duration of employment abroad. During the time of their employment, these women are constantly reminded of their temporary and precarious work status. While working on several two-year contracts as a result of renewals have become the norm, migrant labour laws tend to place limits on their freedoms and by extension do not encourage these women to stay on. Thus, these women face a dilemma: the desire to continue to work abroad away from their families in order to increase their savings and investment prospects, while facing the uncertainty of whether they can stay in Singapore long term.

Gender Implications of Care Migration for the Operation of Care Diamond in Ukraine
by Alissa V. Tolstokorova (International School for Equal Opportunities, Kyiv)
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Abstract and Keywords

The main goal of this paper is to identify the impact of the out-migration of females from Ukraine on the structure and operation of care services and to analyse its gender implications for the family and society in Ukraine. The key analytical concept used in the study is the ‘care diamond’, understood as the architecture that explains the relationship between the state, the market, the family, and the community in care provision. The argument of the paper is that the out-flow of women from Ukraine results in a ‘care deficit’ in the sending society and alters the operation of the care diamond due to the increasing role of the family in its structure, which in turn tends to outsource its care functions to the market while preserving the responsibility for the organisational and financial backing of paid home care. The paper shows that the emerging ‘care crisis’ in Ukraine results from the strategy of ‘crisis transfer’ employed by post-industrial nations to shift the burden of multiple crises from the nucleus of the world system to its periphery. In conclusion, the paper offers policy proposals for the development of coherent policy strategies aimed toward covering key sectors of the Ukrainian care diamond.

Keywords: care diamond in Ukraine, Ukrainian care migration, gender implications of care drain

Integration: a hot button issue. Contextualising Multiculturalism and Integration in Amsterdam
by Mariangela Veikou (University of Peloponnese)
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Abstract and Keywords

The societal transformations reflecting the increased visibility of migrants in European societies have prompted reconsideration of the theoretical concepts used to analyse and model migrant-host society relationships. Do the principles of concepts such as ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘integration’ fit the empirical examples that are meant to illustrate? The paper presents the first set of empirical results of a project designed to study questions of migrant integration by retrieving illustrative examples of experiences in this domain, drawn from Amsterdam.
Much depends upon what happens at the local level and attention to non-state dimensions of integration – such as these that take place at the city neighbourhood level – could illuminate the workings of integration in practice. The study, paying a great deal of attention to the intimate stories of women migrants from North Africa, addresses issues to do with their trajectories of adaptation in Amsterdam. The divergent experiences (and backgrounds) of these migrant women reveal the current city–policy structures and present-day cultures of the settled migrant and native populations as they unfold in practice in everyday life. Following the life experiences of migrants is perhaps one of the best ways of gaining a perspective on the integration model of the society, the processes of ‘integration from below’ so to speak.

Soft Skills and Hard Prejudices: Pathways to Improving the Life Chances of Recent Immigrant Women in Ottawa, Canada
by Caroline Andrew (University of Ottawa), Fran Klodawsky (Carleton
University) and Janet Siltanen (Carleton University)
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Abstract and Keywords

The article is a case study of how a community-based organisation in Ottawa Canada, the City for All Women Initiative (CAWI), has evolved in the ways it contributes to improving some immigrant women’s life chances. In describing the evolving roles of CAWI, we hope to demonstrate the potential utility of a public sector strategy based on three interrelated aspects: meaningful employment and employment-related training; empowerment; and a capacity to measure outcomes. By situating this description within the context of recent immigration in Canada, the article explains how these three interrelated aspects have been increasingly addressed by the organisation, and how they might be generalised in policy terms. Illustrating the development of these three interrelated activities, we hope to show how this combination of activities came into place and how they work to achieve not only employment objectives, but also social and civic engagement goals.

Casamance Refugee Women’s Engagement with Development Programming in The Gambia
by Gail Hopkins
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Abstract and Keywords

In situations of protracted displacement, integration is often the only viable option.  Regaining independence and self-reliance is key to medium and long term re-establishment of lives in exile.  Where the receiving country is a developing country, the practical challenges of integration are compounded by the existing context of poverty into which refugees arrive.  International and local agencies work to provide support through assistance programming including skills training but face diverse challenges which impact on outcomes for refugee women.  Whilst displacement may bring positive social change for some, gains can be eroded by shortcomings within assistance programming.
Through the lens of gendered experiences of forced migration, this paper discusses how Casamance refugee women in The Gambia engage with development programming such as skills training, their access to programmes, and to what degree the refugee women are able to successfully translate training into sustainable livelihoods.

Engendering refugees’ livelihood strategies: the case of the Iraqi diaspora in Damascus
by Giorgio Heinrich Neidhardt (Fondazione Terre des Hommes Italia Onlus)
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Abstract and Keywords

This study looks at the gender dimension in Iraqis’ livelihood strategies in Syria in the period immediately before the present uprising and repression. It suggests that the lack of resources in Syria has meant that Iraqis have ‘activated’ resources elsewhere, outside Syria and outside the environment of institutional humanitarian assistance, and examines the implications of these transnational practices for Iraqi families and their networks. In the first part of this paper I analyse the characteristics of the host country, starting from the urban milieu in which the refugee communities are situated. I note the relative unimportance of ethnic and sectarian affiliation within the Iraqi diaspora in Syria, and focus on the more significant social and economic constraints on recent refugees following the enforcement by the Syrian government of stricter regulations on entry and stay, and the subsequent separation of families between Iraq and Syria. In the second part I examine the dependence of Iraqi refugees in Syria on family networks to cope with the restrictive measures of the host country on the one hand, and with the conflict in Iraq on the other, in order to comprehend how gender in the Iraqi diaspora in Syria constitutes a determining element with respect to livelihood strategies.