Friday, May 18, 2007

Examination of Gendered Aspects of Labor Migration from The Philippines

Tyner, James A. 1996. The Gendering of Philippine International Labor Migration. Professional Geographer, 48(4):405-416

Tyner studied how the institutional practices of labor recruitment influences gendered and racially concentrated occupational patterns. The study offers an alternate view of migrant labor as it deals primarily with the gendered aspects of the migration process and the role of the Philippines government. The disproportional concentration of ethnic minorities in certain occupations and gendered labor patterns are not only the product of institutional practices in the United States. According to Tyner, it is a process that is not only responsive to specific demands or desires of countries such as the United States, but something where domestic gendered societal norms are enacted in terms of how recruiting of migrant labor is carried out. Recruitment practices are affected by gendered representation of occupations, locations, and workers. According to the article, the Philippines is the largest Asian exporter of labor. Of the approximately 500,000 migrant laborers that are deployed annually, 40% are women employed primarily in the service industry. In this study of Filipino labor recruitment practices, Tyner found that the segregation of labor by sex was enabled by controlling images that placed women in the role of caring for the needs of the body – in the forms of entertainers, domestic servants, or even the more technical occupation of nursing. In contrast, other occupations are portrayed as having masculine characteristics, with men more frequently depicted as being employed in professional or construction occupations. In brochures promoting the export of Filipino migrant workers, he found that the typical discourse of the appeasing yet hard working Asian was used to promote the desirability of Filipino workers to employers in the West. Filipino workers are promoted as “chosen from a breed of conscientious people” that are “loyal, disciplined, and obedient.” In terms of recruitment of women, Tyner found that women from rural areas were preferred over women from urban areas. He concludes that this preference is due to a mix of stereotypes that depict women from rural areas as more pure, docile, and harder working.

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