Reshaping and Reframing Gender, Care and Migration: With Focus on Asia-Pacific

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 1:00 PM
Room: 502
Oral Presentation
Ito PENG , Department of Sociology, and School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

In the recent decades, changes in economic structures and women’s shift into paid labour have strained the family’s capacity to perform care, while worldwide population ageing has led to increased demand for paid care workers. The resulting “care deficits” represent a challenge for individuals seeking to reconcile work and family as well as for national policymakers who must balance demands for care with those for equal opportunity for women, and for the full development and utilization of human capital. The need for care has also reinforced “global care chains” that draw women from poorer nations into employment as care workers in wealthier ones, creating not only care deficits but also a “care drain” in sending countries. This highlights the changing global context for care and migration, the new forms of gender and global inequalities, and critical roles that policies can play in reducing inequalities while providing essential care to those in need.

The paper examines political, institutional and cultural factors that have shaped, and are reshaping, ideas and norms of care, focusing on Asia-Pacific context. Definitions of care determine what care is and should be, and who will provide care – family members, communities, and/or paid workers; native-born people or migrants – and the extent to which care may become commodified. How do these definitions shift and adapt as conditions change? How do migration regimes (the laws, regulations and practices surrounding immigration) shift in response to changing demands for care workers?