9. Women, Gender & Work

 “Why is it that caregivers are still being treated as citizens in waiting? Why is it that they still have to live lives in limbo? Why is it that they have to wait to able to get permanent residency for themselves and their family? Why are they locked into this two year working requirement? And a lot of policy improvements have taken place — I am not denying that. But I still question why is it that as decades have gone on and it’s been how long since the foreign domestics movement in 1981 — it’s been, what, like 40 years — why is it that we’re still fighting the same fight?

Dr. Ethel Tungohan, Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Canadian Migration Policy, Impacts, and Activism and member of Gabriela-Ontario

Why do some economists call the present economic crisis a “she-cession”? This has to do with the gender division of labour, women’s disproportionate responsibility for unpaid labour, and their concentration in part-time, precarious work. These are concepts we will explore in this module on women, gender, and work.  Because we cannot explore every facet of women, gender, and work in this module, we will focus on care work, considering different feminist theories of care work, and the intersection of gender and race in care labour.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • Define the following concepts: paid and unpaid labour, the gender division of labour, the “second shift” or “double day”, the family wage, and emotional labour
  • Explain the differences between Marxist, Socialist, and Liberal Feminist approaches to care labour
  • Define neoliberalism and the ways neoliberalism shapes gendered work
  • Discuss Canada’s reliance on temporary foreign workers for care labour
  • Reflect upon how your own work experiences have been shaped by gender and race