Pinay, Balikbayan, Canadian: The Transnational Trajectories of Filipinas (As Domestic Workers)
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This thesis examines and critiques how the intersections of race, gender, and class in our current neoliberal environment produce particular complexities that are unique to women within the global chain of care. I will specifically investigate how Filipinas engage in domestic work and create transnational labour trajectories that stretch from rural and urban spaces in the Global South (the Philippines), to intermediary households in international ports (Hong Kong) to urban centres in the Global North (Canada). My project expands and nuances existing models of labour migration by Filipinas who perform domestic labour, seeking to understand the creative struggles and strategies they employ in order to create lives for themselves and their families within and outside the Philippines. This project will investigate how these women’s journeys are informed by global neoliberal reform, and will examine the counterhegemonic strategies that Filipinas employ to resist exploitation. By examining the larger macrostructures of global labour alongside the everyday experiences of women who are employed as domestic workers in the Philippines, intermediary countries, and Canada, I seek to also illustrate how these women are agents of resistance, carving out stable spaces for themselves in ever-shifting and uncertain geographical locations. My thesis interweaves feminist theory and geographies, migrant policy, hegemonic discourse, personal interviews, and ethnographic data in order to explore how migrants are constantly reworking, contesting, and transforming hierarchal structures.