Gender Identity and Work: Migrant Domestic Work and Masculinity

Part of the Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship Series book series (MDC)


Owing to its growing scale and association with various forms of exploitation and harassment, feminist analysts have focused on women working in stereotypically feminized forms of domestic work such as cleaning, caring and catering. The focus on male migrant domestic workers raises interesting parallels, but also highlights key differences. These differences have significance for understanding how the processes of globalization, migration and social reproduction are gendered, how they manifest themselves in daily life, and, in particular, on the way that varying normative gendered expectations shape decisions people make about what work to do and what work to outsource to others. Gendered social norms also shape the economic and social status of occupations, and thereby structure the well-being and opportunities of both migrant domestic workers and the people for whom they work. These norms and practices are neither uniform nor static. Rather, they change over time and space and vary by social identity, level of economic development, migration legislation and citizenship regimes, rendering specific understandings and outcomes contingent and varied. What becomes clear, however, is that while the way that ‘gender matters in a particular location … is variable and contingent’, the fact ‘that gender matters is not’ (Bair, 2010: 204).


Gender Identity Domestic Work Hegemonic Masculinity Social Reproduction Uneven Development 
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Copyright information

© Majella Kilkey, Diane Perrons and Ania Plomien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SheffieldUK
  2. 2.London School of Economics and Political ScienceUK
  3. 3.University of Southern CaliforniaUSA
  4. 4.Florida State UniversityUSA

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