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Love, Motherhood and Migration

Regulating Migrant Women's Sexualities in the Persian Gulf

Pardis Mahdavi

This article looks at the confluence of love, labour and the law by focusing on the regulation of migrant women's sexualities in the Gulf Coast Cooperation countries of the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Migrant women increasingly comprise the majority of migrants to the region as the demand for intimate labour in the Persian Gulf is on the rise. But migrant women who become pregnant while in the Persian Gulf are immediately imprisoned and charged with the crime of zina. These women give birth while incarcerated and spend up to a year with their babies in prison. They are then forcibly separated from their children when they are deported, rendering the children stateless in the host country. Migrant women who are often brought to the Persian Gulf to perform (re)productive labour are seen as immoral if they engage in sexual activities during their time in the Persian Gulf (and this is written into their contracts), and thus are seen as unfit to parent their own children. Some migrant women have recently been protesting these laws by refusing and fighting deportation without their children. This article contrasts discourses about migrant women's sexuality and legal analysis with the lived experiences of selected migrant women and their children through ethnographic research conducted in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait City between 2008 and 2014.

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En-Gendering Insecurities

The Case of the Migration Policy Regime in Thailand

Philippe Doneys

The paper examines the migration policy regime in Thailand using a human security lens. It suggests that insecurities experienced by migrants are partly caused or exacerbated by a migration policy regime, consisting of migration laws and regulations and non-migration related policies and programs, that pushes migrants into irregular forms of mobility and insecure employment options. These effects are worse for women migrants who have fewer resources to access legal channels while they are relegated to insecure employment in the reproductive or informal sectors. Using a gender and human security analysis, therefore, reveals how the migration policy regime, often informed by a restrictive national security approach, can clash with the human security needs of migrants by creating a large pool of unprotected irregular migrants with women occupying the most vulnerable forms of employment. In conclusion, it is suggested that this ‘en-gendering’ of human insecurities could be overcome if gender equality was designed into policies and guided their implementation.

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Pauline Gardiner Barber

This article addresses the politics of class, culture, and complicity associated with Philippine gendered-labor export. Several examples drawn from multisited ethnographic research explore two faces of class: migrant performances of subordination contrasted with militancy in the labor diaspora. With few exceptions, the literature on Philippine women in domestic service has emphasized disciplined subjectivities, the everyday dialectics of subordination. But class is also represented in these same relationships, understandings, and actions. Alternatively, the political expressions of Philippine overseas workers, and their supporters, is a feature of Philippine migration that is not often mentioned in writing concerned with migrant inequalities. This article proposes a reconciliation of these two faces of class expression by exploring how new media, primarily cell-phone technologies, enhance possibilities for organized and personal resistance by Filipino migrants, even as they facilitate migrant acquiescence, linked here to gendered subordination and class complicity, in the contentious reproduction of the migrant labor force.

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Tajik Male Labour Migration and Women Left Behind

Can They Resist Gender and Generational Hierarchies?

Mary Elaine Hegland

Poverty and unemployment send at least one million Tajiks to Russia for low-level labour migration. The migrants, mainly male, leave women behind to manage on their own. As a result, women have to work all the harder to try to feed themselves and their children, often against great odds. Male migrant labour to Russia, along with unemployment, alcoholism, drug dependency and other problems, also results in a shortage of marriageable males. This is a serious problem because Tajiks expect girls to marry early. Globalisation, poverty and male labour migration serve to exacerbate existing gender and generational hierarchies.

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From Rhetoric to Practice

A critique of immigration policy in Germany through the lens of Turkish-Muslim women's experiences of migration

Sherran Clarence

The largest group of migrants in Germany is the Turkish people, many of whom have low skills levels, are Muslim, and are slow to integrate themselves into their host communities. German immigration policy has been significantly revised since the early 1990s, and a new Immigration Act came into force in 2005, containing more inclusive stances on citizenship and integration of migrants. There is a strong rhetoric of acceptance and open doors, within certain parameters, but the gap between the rhetoric and practice is still wide enough to allow many migrants, particularly women, to fall through it. Turkish-Muslim women bear the brunt of the difficulties faced once they have arrived in Germany, and many of them are subject to domestic abuse, joblessness and poverty because of their invisibility to the German state, which is the case largely because German immigration policy does not fully realise a role and place for women migrants. The policy also does not sufficiently account for ethnic and cultural identification, or limitations faced by migrants in that while it speaks to integration, it does not fully enable this process to take place effectively. Even though it has made many advances in recent years towards a more open and inclusive immigration policy, Germany is still a 'reluctant' country of immigration, and this reluctance stops it from making any real strides towards integrating migrants fully into German society at large. The German government needs to take a much firmer stance on the roles of migrant women in its society, and the nature of the ethnic and religious identities of Muslim immigrants, in order to both create and implement immigration policy that truly allows immigrants to become full and contributing members to German social and economic life, and to bring it in line with the European Union's common directives on immigration.

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The many faces of Turkish Odessa

Ecumenical communities and multiple alliances across the Black Sea

Vera Skvirskaja

The article discusses regional territoriality by looking at the heterogeneous community of Turkish male migrants and the multiple alliances they establish in post-Soviet Odessa, Ukraine. In its public image, the city plays down ideas of urban continuities with the Ottoman past, but new relations between Turkish newcomers and various Turkic-speaking groups in the area both create different and overlapping “ecumenical communities” and actualize long-forgotten connections or marginal historical visions. These migrants also generate important links to the area through marriage and intimate relations with Slav women. I argue that alliances between Turkish migrants and Turkic-speaking minorities and local women not only allow them to make the city their own, but also create a distance from wider Odessan society.

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Banu Nilgün Uygun

This essay explores the sexual-economic transactions between Turkish men and women from the former Soviet Union (FSU), focusing on Trabzon, a Turkish port town on the southeast coast of the Black Sea. I first provide background on 'the new migration' from the FSU to Turkey, paying particular attention to some of the political stakes in discussions of transnational sex work. I then explore these issues through the stories of two migrant women from the FSU who live in Trabzon. In these stories I highlight the ambiguity and complexity of sexual-economic transactions between local men and migrant women to show the inadequacy of the category 'sex work'. Finally, I turn to the demand side of the equation and consider the ideologies shaping the perceptions of local men. I situate them within the context of discourses of modernity in Turkey as they are reconfigured by Turkey's integration into global markets.

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Resisting Fortress Europe

The everyday politics of female transnational migrants

Elisabetta Zontini

This article considers the political engagement used by Moroccan and Filipino women in Southern Europe. It argues that immigrant women should be seen as active subjects rather than passive victims who accept subordinate roles both in their families and in the societies where they have settled. In order to appreciate the kind of political agency migrant women deploy, the article suggests two preliminary steps: extending the definition of the political so as to incorporate power and inequalities beyond political institutions, and adopting a transnational perspective so as to include the social fields encompassing more than one country in which these women operate. The article goes on to describe the different ways in which the two groups of women negotiate their citizenship rights in Southern Europe, focusing especially on how they negotiate entrance and rights to settle and how they try to improve their living and working conditions.

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Liliana Simeonova, Anna Hájková, Sashka Georgieva, Kristina Yordanova, Anna Loutfi, Svetla Baloutzova, Christiane Eifert, Francisca de Haan, Olga Todorova, Daniela Koleva, Susan Zimmermann and Isidora Jarić

Marianna D. Birnbaum, The Long Journey of Gracia Mendes

Melissa Feinberg, Elusive Equality: Gender, Citizenship, and the Limits of Democracy in Czechoslovakia, 1918–1950

Linda Garland, ed., Byzantine Women: Varieties of Experience 800–1200

Milena Kirova, Maya Boyadzhievska and Biljana Dojcˇinovic´-Nešic´, eds., Glasove: Nova humanitaristika ot balkanski avtorki (Voices: New humanitarian studies of women writers from the Balkans)

Ruth A. Miller, The Limits of Bodily Integrity. Abortion, Adultery and Rape Legislation in Comparative Perspective

Luisa Passerini, Dawn Lyon, Enrica Capussotti and Ioanna Laliotou, eds., Women Migrants from East to West. Gender, Mobility and Belonging in Contemporary Europe 263

Ralf Roth and Robert Beachy, eds., Who Ran the Cities? City Elites and Urban Power Structures in Europe and North America, 1750–1940

Edith Saurer, Margareth Lanzinger and Elisabeth Frysak, eds., Women’s Movements. Networks and Debates in Post-Communist Countries in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Lucienne Thys-S¸ enocak, Ottoman Women Builders. The Architectural Patronage of Hadice Turhan Sultan

Galina Valtchinova, Balkanski yasnovidki i prorochici ot XX vek (Balkan visionaries and prophetesses in the twentieth century)

Natascha Vittorelli, Frauenbewegung um 1900. Über Triest nach Zagreb (The women’s movement around 1900. Through Trieste to Zagreb)

Dubravka Žarkov, The Body of War: Media, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Break-up of Yugoslavia

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Les circulations entre France et Algérie

Un nouveau regard sur les migrants (post)coloniaux (1945–1985)

Muriel Cohen

This article studies circulations between Algeria and France from the 1950s to the 1980s to analyze the social dynamics characteristic of Algerians in France and to highlight their range of choices and trajectories. Bypassing the historiographically dominant focus on male guest workers, this article claims that most flows between Algeria and France involved women and children, as well as men who had settled in France a long time ago. Moreover, it shows a large emigration flow from France to Algeria: of business men, vacationers or people moving back to Algeria. This analysis relies on statistical data as well as migrants’ testimonies.