The chapter provides an overview of the migration of domestic workers from the Philippines. It describes the paths of migration for Filipino domestic workers—direct, serial and step-wise. It examines the state-construction of Filipino domestic workers, introducing the concept of partial citizenship, which refers to the absence of full citizenship rights allotted to migrant domestic workers at both ends of the migration spectrum.
The chapter revisits the concept of the "international division of reproductive labor," which is also known in the literature as the "care chain." This concept refers to the transfer of caretaking responsibilities among women who outsource care to other women in order to participate in the labor market. Participants in this transfer of care work usually include the professional woman who hires a migrant domestic worker to care for her family, while that domestic worker in turn relies on or hires a woman left behind in the Philippines to care for her family.
This chapter describes how the transnational family is the most common household arrangement among migrant domestic workers. By this is meant that they are part of a family whose members are located in at least two countries. Although not occupying the same residence, family members in transnational households share resources, maintain a sense of collective responsibility for each other's well-being, and uphold the duties expected of them as kin. Three kinds of transnational families are described: one-parent, two-parent, and adult children transnational families. The chapter describes how the transnational family lends itself to the experience of the pain of family separation.
This chapter describes the pain of family separation. It argues that the gender ideology of the feminization of domesticity aggravates the emotional difficulties faced by the children of migrant mothers in transnational families. It establishes the difficulty that children face in accepting the reconstitution of the gender division of labor instigated by women's migration, as they still expect that their mothers should nurture them in proximity and not from a distance.
This chapter examines the experience of doing domestic work. It shows that migrant domestic workers face contradictory class mobility, as doing domestic work involves their downward mobility in status but upward mobility in earnings. Domestic workers ease the emotional toll of contradictory class mobility by establishing intimate relations of being "like a family" with employers.
This chapter addresses the question of what happens to men if they find themselves racially segregated into domestic work. It shows that men experience the precariousness of labor and suffer from chronic unemployment. This leaves them in a position of dependency vis-à-vis the women in the community, challenging the traditional division of labor in the family. Men respond to this threat to their masculinity via their engagement in community groups such as the Guardians Brotherhood.
This chapter uses a survey and interviews to examine what happens to domestic workers when they age. It establishes the precariousness of retirement to be due not only to their low wages but also to the informal nature of the job. It shows that migrant domestic workers who are unable to retire transition to elder care work in old age, resulting in the phenomenon of the elderly caring for the elderly. This new form of inequality shows that the ability of one group to retire is dependent on the inability of another group to retire.
This chapter summarizes the arguments of the book and offers new directions for the study of migrant domestic work. It specifically calls for more studies that link the microexamination of domestic work to macrostructures in society.