Article sur les femmes migrantes travailleuses domestiques

Women Migrant Workers and Market Forces: Toward an Inter-disciplinary Representation of Female Labor Migration

In: Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Including a Selection of Papers Presented at the First History of Economics Diversity Caucus Conference

Nadeera Rajapakse

Abstract
The economic literature on labor migration has incorporated insights from various disciplines with regard to content and method, although the representation of migrants has not fully moved away from the neoliberal, market-dominated framework. This paper addresses the issue of women migrant workers using the particular example of Sri Lankan migrant women workers to the Middle East. It aims to highlight the need for more diversity in economic research without which conceptual representation, as well as empirical reach, is limited. After a brief overview of the representation of migrants in economic literature, I develop the concept of vulnerability. I refer to qualitative and quantitative analyses on Sri Lankan migrant women workers to the Middle East from a variety of disciplines in order to differentiate the “vulnerable,” that is, the workers in need of protection, from the “vulnerabilities.” The latter concept refers to the debilitating effects on workers, produced by market forces, which are often perpetuated by underlying assumptions, as well as policies. A broader, inter-disciplinary perspective, which considers the agency of women, can go a long way toward removing some of the limitations and preconceptions ingrained in most economic representation. This in turn could help to improve the protection of the vulnerable and empower them to better face market forces.

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