Decent Care for Decent Work: The Double Burdens of Sri Lankas Migrant Domestic Workers : A Lecture by Dr. Matt Withers
This seminar will discuss the ways in which gender has been embedded within Sri Lankas experience of migration-underdevelopment. It begins by outlining the local and macroeconomic implications of Sri Lankas dependence on temporary labour migration, before examining how double burdens at the intersection of womens work and care roles have been leveraged and reinforced through this process.
In Sri Lanka, female migrant domestic workers are caught between the emerging reality of being female breadwinners amidst declining masculine livelihoods, while still being expected to shoulder the full responsibility of unpaid domestic care work. A key part of the work/care crisis of migrant domestic workers in Sri Lanka is that reproductive labour remains largely unrecognised as an economic activity and is devalued as an inherently feminine form of work.
The International Labour Organisation has promoted decent work as an avenue of redress to a multitude of exploitative labour practices, while singling out temporary migrant workers as a particularly vulnerable demographic. However, without recognising the developmental importance of decent care arrangements to support working women, and therein a redistribution of care obligations, the decent work agenda risks becoming an inherently patriarchal framework for labour rights in emerging economies like Sri Lanka.
Thursday 14th June 2018 at 4:30 pm
ICES Auditorium, 2, Kynsey Terrace, Colombo 8