Evelynn Glenn.doc

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Women and Gender Studies

Women and Labour Migration- Evelyn Nakano Glenn • Author argues that if we look at the migration of women as a distinct set of experiences, a different model of immigration will result • Two-tiered labour system divided migrant workers by race so that the experience of European ethnic groups has been different from that on non-European groups • Starting in the middle of the 19 century, many women left Europe, Latin America and Asia to finthwork in the United States • Later in the 19 century black women started migrating from the rural south to settle in the cities of the north and south o In response to need for cheap and willing labour o Migrated in the first place to find work but settled down overtime, establishing families and building communities in their new surroundings • Women came alone or mostly as families • Migrant fathers/husbands rarely earned a family wage o Thus, women’s labour was essential for survival o Still carried out most of the domestic work at home (keepers of home/socializers of kids) o Many migrant women forced into working wage jobs outside the home – double shifts  At a disadvantage in terms of language, lacking industrial skills and responsibility of domestic work, also faced race and gender stratified labour market that confined them to low paying and degraded jobs • Domestic service exemplified the migrant women’s work experience o Domestic service was the most common employment for migrant women and th their daughters between the mid-19 century and world war II o Long hours, heavy work, lack of freedom, and low status of domestic workers- easily accessible to migrants due to demand for household help o Even today, domestic service is one of the largest fields of initial employment for recent immigrants • Domestic service was a temporary way station for European immigrant groups, a job that bridged the transition from the old country to the new • Racially distinct migrant groups recruited to fill temporary labour needs, denied basic political and legal rights and marginalized in society because of their colour o People of colour excluded from skilled crafts, sales, clerical work, and light manufacturing jobs that were the steps up for sons and daughters of European immigrants- their only option was dome
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