1.1. Paper Session: Understanding Paid Care Jobs
East Common Room
Assisted living residents prioritize aging in place in addition to optimizing quality of life. However, these goals can be difficult to reach because of the complex and dynamic array of care needs in this population. Person-centered collaborative care arrangements that empower residents, families, and care partners require supports for resident self-care, coordination of health care, consensus-building and goal setting, as well as improved communication and teamwork among members of their “care convoys”—the evolving collection of individuals who provide formal and informal care. Direct care workers (DCWs) are in a unique position to speak to the changing resident needs and the challenges of negotiating those needs within a complex and ever-changing environment but also experience their own particular constraints and job quality issues. This paper presents analysis of data drawn from a 5-year mixed-method qualitative study funded by the National Institute on Aging. The study focused on understanding care convoys and their impact on resident care outcomes. Using a grounded theory approach, this analysis is based on data from interviews with AL staff, residents, external health care support professionals, and residents’ family members. Here, we examine DCWs’ roles and experiences in care collaboration and support for resident quality of life and quality of care. We find that DCWs are an underutilized resource in supporting both the care and self-care of older AL residents and as well as the communication among convoy members. Job constraints impact the tensions between job quality for the DCW and quality of care for the resident as well as whether direct care workers are empowered as full members of the care convoy. We discuss implications for workforce development, training, and career development. Additionally, we discuss the importance of recognizing shared interests in order to enhance collaboration among direct care workers and residents they serve.
During the last three decades, new policies that draw on business principles, methods, and goals have restructured the human services in ways that dramatically affect agencies, workers, and clients in both the public and non-profit sectors. Increasingly referred to as Managerialism, these trends have created a sea change in the human services. This presentation looks at the tension between the logic of social work (mission) and the logic of the market (managerialism). created by the introduction of managerialism. In collaboration with 6 major human service, professional, and labor organizations, we developed the Human Service Workforce Study. The survey of nearly 3,000 human service workers in New York City examined the impact of managerialism (e.g. performance measures, quantifiable short-term outcomes, and standardized practice) on agency commitment to social justice.
A commitment to managerialism score identified agency settings highly committed to managerialism. High and low managerial agencies were then compared for their commitment to social justice including mission, advocacy, diversity, client profiles, access to services, work/family balance, and job control. Given that carework is highly gendered and that our sample was over 80% female, we also compared how white women (53%) and women-of-color (47%) experienced managerialism. Agencies with a high commitment to social justice were less committed to managerialist practices. However, women-of-color were less likely to work in strong social justice settings, more likely to suffer the consequences of managerialism, less job control, and greater work/family balance challenges.
These results, a wake-up call to the human service community, can be used to inform agencies, practitioners, educators, funders, policy makers, and elected officials about the impact of managerialism on social justice, careworkers and the people/communities they serve.
Background and objectives. Home care (HC) aides are a major workforce providing care work worldwide. In the United States, HC aide is one of the fastest growing occupations. Exposures to occupational safety and health (OSH) hazards are challenging to evaluate in complex HC work environments. This presentation demonstrates how qualitative and quantitative research methods complement each other when assessing and characterizing musculoskeletal strain and interventions that impact both HC aides and clients. Methods. In Massachusetts, the Safe Home Care Project of the University of Massachusetts Lowell conducted 12 focus groups with HC aides and 26 in-depth interviews with HC agency managers, labour union members, workers’ compensation representatives, and HC clients. All focus groups and interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Structured, computer-assisted thematic analysis of all transcripts was performed and the results were incorporated into a cross-sectional survey questionnaire administered among HC aides (n=1,249). Nine post-survey focus groups and seven interviews interpreted the quantitative survey findings and then informed a laboratory-based study to assess musculoskeletal strain in the use of assistive slide board devices among HC aides (n=16). Results. The qualitative and quantitative data showed that the most concerning OSH exposures among HC aides were client handling and mobility tasks associated with aides’ back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). About one-third of survey participants experienced back pain in the past 12 months and of those who reported pain one-fourth considered the back pain to be work-related. Ergonomic assistive devices to prevent MSDs and in-service trainings were assessed as the most promising short-term interventions. Post-survey focus groups and interviews provided interpretation of the quantitative exposure estimates, possible determinants, and recommendations for future research. Conclusions. Combined qualitative and quantitative research techniques provide complementary data for more comprehensive characterization of musculoskeletal strain exposures and intervention opportunities in complex care work environments.
There are about 442 million adults living with diabetes worldwide, a four-fold increase over just 30 years (WHO 2014). Spreading through the developing world on the tide of globalization, this pandemic exacts tremendous costs from governments and health systems and takes a mighty toll on the individuals, families, and communities affected by it. Diabetes management relies on frontline careworkers to educate and assist people with managing diabetes through medication, diet, and behavioral changes. In the U.S., specially-trained nurses and dieticians do the bulk of this professional carework in a context of growing inequalities and health disparities.
This paper examines the interplay of professionalization, healthcare, social policy, and patient needs that defines the work of Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) in the U.S. Drawing on Constrained Choice Theory and a Negotiated Care framework, I analyzed data from 30 semi-structured interviews, 150 hours of field observation of CDE training and professionalization activities, CDE documents and tools, and government policies to: 1) Describe the work and working conditions of CDEs; 2) Situate CDEs’ work in their policy and institutional contexts; and 3) Identify opportunities to better align the needs of patients, families, and communities with appropriate resources for diabetes care, so that CDEs can be most effective and satisfied in their work.
The Constrained Choice in Healthcare (CCH) framework I propose adds more nuance to our understandings of individual health practices—especially relevant for populations with the greatest needs. Diabetes careworkers are only as effective as their work is constrained by healthcare and policy. This is especially relevant for adapting diabetes management practices where a one-size-Western-solution does not fit all.
1.2 Paper Session: Technology and Care
A well-rehearsed refrain about care in the policy and academic literatures is that we are facing a looming crisis and this will lead to changes in services (Carey et al., 2017). Groups in receipt of care services are increasing in numbers, becoming older, have greater levels of disability and chronic illness and higher expectations about the quality of services (Glasby and Dickinson, 2014). At the same time, care service providers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit an appropriate workforce (Australian Government Productivity Commission, 2017). Robots have begun to offer a potential solution to these twin demand and supply-side pressures. Yet, as the Australian Human Rights Commission (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2018) notes, ‘like any tool, technology can be used for good or ill…modern technology carries unprecedented potential on an individual and global scale. New technologies are already radically disrupting our social, governmental and economic systems’ (pg. 7). New technologies are therefore a double-edged sword; offering significant advantages, but with potential misuse or unintended consequences that need careful consideration so that such developments do not negatively impact particular groups.
The literature on the implementation of digital technologies indicates that if they are not carefully fitted in terms of model of care, they have less chance of being successfully implemented (Greenhalgh, 2018). This suggests that considerable thought needs to be given to what we mean by care in context and the role that robots play within this. In this paper we use evidence from 35 interviews with stakeholders involved with the implementation of robots in Australian and New Zealand care services. We analyse how people are thinking about care and robot technologies. In doing so, we identify that care with robots is a ‘discursive practice’ (Tronto 2018) and stewarding these technologies is best informed with care ethics to explore social and moral boundaries.
Eldercare under capitalism is in a continual state of crisis. The work of caring for end-of-life patients is devalued amongst many other forms of carework traditionally performed in the home. However, as Silvia Federici (2009) writes, "unlike the reproduction of labour-power, whose product has a recognized value, [elder care] is deemed to absorb value and not produce it" (Federici, 2009, p. 116). In the context of technological developments that have in recent years changed care workers' labour process, the field of eldercare faces unique transformations. This paper takes up feminist autonomist Marxist analyses of eldercare to explore two technological mediations: one designed to facilitate relationships between workers and employers, and one that mediates relationships between workers and their patients.
First, I consider how platform applications like Care.com and CareLinx casualize labour relations for care workers while also formalizing their labour process. Second, I examine simulation technologies designed to promote empathy in end-of-life care workers. For example, Klick Labs' SymPulse Tele-Empathy Device and the Michener Institute's "frail aging simulation suit" are intended to communicate elderly patients' suffering in a way that imbues care providers' labour process of with a sense of meaning and connection arguably at odds with the gig economy's trend toward depersonalization and precarization. Ultimately, I draw on an autonomist feminist Marxist framework alongside labour process theory to explore the implications of these technologies for eldercare workers' autonomy and capacity for resistance.
Millions of caregivers go unnoticed in waiting rooms and clinical appointments. They perform care work in the intimacy of the home and are largely invisible to the public. It often all begins when the person is ready to return home from the hospital, a turning point when staff must satisfy the question posed by administration: Is it safe to release this patient into the care of one? That is, is the caregiver - often a partner - willing to take sole responsibility? This paper proposes that three fields, science and technology studies (STS), disability studies (DS) and feminist scholarship, can be drawn together to examine such caregiving. Feminist scholarship has long examined caregiving as devalued women’s work. But disability studies is committed to the social model of disability, which moves the site of the “problem” from the body to the social structures surrounding that body. Caregiving has been historically avoided because it may highlight the impaired body. Although explorations of subjectivity, experience, and power related to embodiment (e.g., gender, disability) are central to both feminist scholarship and disability studies, there remains a rift between the fields regarding the issue of caregiving; feminist scholarship feels it should central while disability studies recoils. This paper suggests the need to enter into this forbidden space of considering caregiving and disability together, particularly by bringing in theories from STS. How might we incorporate critical analyses of technological objects used to care and the healthcare systems and policies that must navigated to show how caregivers and their partners are actively shaped by contemporary, technoscientific social conditions? I will present work-in-progress related to a book project that will use ethnography in people's homes to investigate these phenomena; I hope to solicit feedback to improve the study’s research design.
Today, a number of online platforms like Handy and Tidy have begun to offer a variety of services related to social reproduction. These digital platforms are part of the gig economy, a market environment characterized by short-term, temporary work arrangements between service providers and clients which are mediated through new technologies. Although these kinds of informal labor arrangements are not new, the development of such apps have exacerbated the sheer numbers of people who turn to technology—and the market—either as clients purchasing services or as independent contractors providing them. Although social reproduction in the gig economy remains statistically not very significant in an industry where the dominant hiring practices are very individualized, I argue they are nonetheless important to study. In the case of social reproduction services, these platforms are radically transforming work itself in important ways. This paper explores the complex relationship between gig-style work arrangements and social reproduction. In this paper, I briefly examine the theoretical origins of wages, industries and markets emerging from Marxist theories of social reproduction. And I ask how they compare to this modern digitally-mediated social reproduction in the gig economy. I argue that there is continuity between digitally-mediated social reproduction and theses raised by the Wages for Housework Campaign and Angela Davis, only in the context of markets for housework. Using qualitative data, I analyze a case study of Tidy, a Los Angeles-based online platform for house cleaning, I ask, how is social reproduction mediated through digital platforms such as Tidy, an app that is like Uber, but for housework?
1.3 Panel Session: Relationships of Care: Transnational and Intergenerational Exchanges
Carework is performed and received beyond and between, within and across, generations as well as borders. Increased immigration, longevity, and the emergence of transnationally mobile seniors and their families have resulted in more multigenerational households. As family caregiving becomes intergenerational, carers throughout the lifecourse, face unique challenges. In this session we seek to explore these care relationships from an intersectional and transnational perspective by inviting papers which may include, but are not limited to, the work of young carers, adult carers, seniors caring for seniors, seniors caring for children and grandchildren, implications of intergenerational relationships, access to respite services and caring from afar.
This paper is based on a research entitled “Eldercare Within Chinese Immigrant Families”. It explores the experiences of recent Chinese immigrant women from Hong Kong and mainland China, and examines the reciprocity of care between adult Chinese immigrant women in Canada and their aging parents who reside either in Canada or transnationally. It investigates how the work of eldercare exacerbates inequalities experienced by a particular group of minoritized women, i.e., Chinese immigrant women, in the context of globalization and neoliberal restructuring. The myriad ways recent Chinese immigrant women simultaneously provide carework for their elderly parents and for other family members will be examined. At the same time, the various kinds of reciprocating carework elderly parents offer to their adult children’s families will also be investigated.
Over the past three decades, shifting social, economic, political and demographic changes have led to unprecedented shifts in the generational structures of care and support. One of the largely invisible and unspoken of trends involves the incorporation of children and youth into informal care plans for the increasing base of older Canadians. Indeed, “young carers” represent the third largest Canadian care cohort and provide crucial yet often hidden forms of informal care and support to grandparents. This paper will use data from the 2012 General Social Survey on “Caregiving and Care Receiving” to highlight some of the ways that Canadian youth aged 15 to 24 are engaged in the social reproduction of older Canadians.
Grandparents in multigenerational Canadian immigrant families provide considerable financial, emotional and material care and support to those in the middle and younger generations. Using data from 13 focus groups and 31 in-depth interviews with immigrant seniors from a variety of ethno-racial groups in Toronto, Canada, we explore the perspectives of immigrant seniors in creating and maintaining family. We discuss the ways in which their contributions, while critical, remain largely invisible and unrecognized by family members, settlement agencies and public policy makers. We examine the reciprocal and often conflictual nature of care and support by examining generational differences in ethnic traditions and child-rearing expectations. We conclude that understandings of immigrant settlement processes need to take into account the essential role of grandparents in furthering immigrant integration.
As seniors increasingly take on informal carework in the family as grandparents and providers of spousal care, more and more, they experience caregiver burden and a need for respite services, particularly for in-home services. Yet economic, cultural and social barriers limit these seniors’ access to a variety of respite care services. Immigrant senior carers face additional challenges related to lack of linguistically and culturally appropriate homecare, intensified social isolation as well as culturally specific norms and expectations regarding caring duties. This presentation will highlight emerging results from an on-going, interview-based study with Canadian immigrant seniors that explores the experiences, perspectives, and needs of senior immigrants around ways to alleviate rising levels of caregiver burden through the provision of a variety of forms of respite care.
1.4. Roundtable Session: Challenges of Caring With and For Family Members
Great Hall A
As the population ages and dementia rates increase, increasing numbers of oldest-old people (age 85+) are providing care to their spouses with dementia. Oldest-old people have been identified as a unique subgroup of elders differing from their younger-old counterparts (age 65-80) on several factors (e.g., motivational priorities and preferences, functional, cognitive, and sensory abilities, social networks). These differences likely result in different caregiving experiences. However, in dementia caregiving literature, oldest-old spousal caregivers have rarely been investigated as a unique caregiving subgroup. Most studies on the experiences of dementia spousal caregivers include younger spouses (age 65-80) and it is not clear if findings are applicable to oldest-old spousal caregivers. The limited evidence on the oldest-old subgroup suggests some unique aspects to their caregiving experiences (e.g., caregivers dealing with their own health problems struggle to provide physical help to their spouse, caregivers with memory decline find it challenging to manage their spouse's medication). These experiences likely create unique support needs that should be addressed in caregiving services. To date, it is unclear whether existing services are addressing these needs. As evidence on the experiences of oldest-old dementia spousal caregivers is scarce, further investigation is warranted. To address this gap, we are undertaking a study that will explore the experiences and needs of oldest-old dementia spousal caregivers. The study will employ a qualitative phenomenology methodology, which enables exploration of the lived experiences of the participants, and engagement between the researcher and participants in an interactive reflection of the meaning of age and aging in the caregiving role. This presentation elaborates on the unique characteristics of oldest-old dementia spousal caregivers and explores how understanding their experience and support needs can help inform age-sensitive practice and policy.
Family is generally the first space of learning, socialization, and social integration of young children. Parents are usually expected to take care of them, provide them with emotional and material security, and ensure their education as well as their wellbeing with the support of the community. The presence of a child's disability, mental health problem or neurological condition changes the context in which parents exercise their family and social roles. Approximately 1 in 64 child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Canada (Ofner et al., 2018). Most parents, especially mothers, carry out the task related to health, education, and seeking help for the child, as well as taking an important role in the child’s readaptative program. Moreover, the complex and specialized nature of this domestic carework is little known.
There are relatively few studies describing the fullness of the male caregiver experience, and those that do tend focus on comparing men unfavorably to women. Mignon Duffy (2014) has shown that when it comes to non-nurturing carework, men of color are already doing a growing portion of often overlooked care work. Likewise, we know that while fathers still lag behind when it comes to care of young children, men are performing elder care almost on par with female contemporaries. In order to reap the social and economic benefits of men’s involvement in family life and for caring professions to be seen as worthy and attractive, to foster real gender equality at work and home and close the pay gap, we need to move beyond stereotypes and explore men’s actual lived experiences of care. As a first step toward this, our team has undertaken a large-scale qualitative study, including a nationally representative survey and multiple focus groups. The study will explore men’s participation in both paid and unpaid care (of children, disabled, and aging friends, family, and neighbors) to better understand what motivates and hinders men’s involvement in care, and to better understand the myriad and overlooked ways men are already caring or might be incentivized to do even more carework. This paper shares our survey and focus group construction, some preliminary findings (if available as planned) and proposes an ongoing research agenda on men and care.
Caregiving is not a common term in Africa. No one talks about caregiving in Africa even though it is taking place on behalf of children, disabled and the elderly. Africans are yet to realize that anyone who is involved in providing care is a caregiver. Being a professional caregiver in Africa, I saw the need to advocate for the people in my society who are incapacitated especially the elderly. Unfortunately, the journey has not been easy as so many factors affect the job or caregiving in Africa – from cultural believes, government neglect, caregiver burn out, poverty, security problems, and religious believes.
In 2016 when I was posted to a rural community in Rivers State of Nigeria, I realized that no attention is given to the elderly in our society, no care plans, no assisted living facilities or care homes, no retirement benefits or assistance.
There has been increased untimely death among the elderly in Nigeria and Africa due to lack of the above. You can simply put that Africans do not age well especially those who cannot afford to travel abroad.
The focus should be in Africa to rekindle hope for the elderly and everyone that needs assistance with the activities of daily living by advocating for care plans for the elderly in Africa so that people will no longer be afraid of getting old.
Nanny agencies exist but those that operate such agencies are more concerned with making money and pay no attention to the quality of caregivers that they employ to people’s homes. Hence the increasing rate of abuse, neglect and irresolvable misunderstanding.
Africa needs investors and government to look into the care industry for a total overhauling and revolution. Assisted living facilities and care communities should be established at least in every states of every country in Africa. Retirement plans should be put in place and Caregiver Institutes/colleges should be established to produce new generations of African caregivers.
1.5. Roundtable Session: Decent Work and Care
Great Hall B
Ontario’s nonprofit sector’s distinctive characteristics, challenges, trends, and opportunities significantly impact its labour force, one that consists of 80% women workers. We know very little about how women are faring in the sector. How do challenges women face in the broader labour market particularly manifest and impact different women working in the sector (e.g., the gender wage gap)? Given the critical intersections between labour, the nonprofit sector, and women, the Ontario Nonprofit Network is exploring these questions by applying a gender based intersectional lens (GBA+) to its decent work movement .
In 2018 we engaged self-identifying women in learning circles and a survey to share their experiences of barriers they’ve faced while working in Ontario’s nonprofit sector. The results of which are published in our Women’s Voices report. It reflects what we heard from the 730 women participants, their perspectives, experiences, and observances, in their own voices.
Their voices are grouped into three themes: feminization of the sector, discrimination in a feminized sector, and conversation to action. The feminization of the sector delves into how the sector is not only women-majority but traditional stereotypes of femininity are embedded within the sector’s narrative and structures. This feminization has implications for not just women workers but all workers at the macro and micro levels. In part two the report highlights the way in which women workers in a feminized sector experience sexism and other forms of discrimination. A glass ceiling, gender wage gap, and harassment exist, they just manifest differently for different women workers given the nonprofit sector’s unique characteristics, challenges, trends, and opportunities. Part three shares the women’s recommendations for change. The themes reinforce the urgency of not only exploring labour force issues in the nonprofit sector, but doing so from a GBA+ lens.
This pilot study examined the mental health experiences of Canadian elementary and secondary school teachers, the factors causing them to leave work as a result of those experiences, and their return to work. We asked: 1) which teachers are leaving work? 2) which factors affect this decision and 3) what factors help them return to work?. Reflecting on an explicit gender lens, we also explored what role gender plays at each of these junctures. We drew on two data sources for this pilot study: an online survey of elementary and secondary teachers (N=69) and in-depth follow up interviews (N=8). Work-related stress for both elementary and secondary teachers was rated higher than personal or familial stress. Both teaching groups identified stress as the most challenging mental health issue facing the profession. Survey data revealed that both elementary and secondary teachers believed that women were more likely than men to be affected by mental health issues to the extent of causing an extended leave, particularly those female teachers with children. In teacher interviews, 2 female teachers specifically spoke to the role of gender; they felt that they still took on the majority of household work and parenting, to the detriment of their career. Not only is teaching often referred to as a caring profession, with heavy needs of emotional labour in the classroom (Isenbarger & Zembylas, 2006), female teachers also appear to face issues of family care which carry burdens on mental health. Our pilot study provides much needed data for the gap in literature about teacher mental health, leaves of absences, return to work and the role of gender and care work within these processes.
Historically, Europeans intended to educate the colonized just enough so that racialized people could serve their colonial masters. Using the theoretical lenses of Paola Freire, Toyin Falola and Sophie Oluwole, I will critique colonial hegemonic legacies in education in terms of employment, curricula and instruction.
“My longest stint as a care worker has been as a prostitute…”
In this quotation, US writer and activist Robin Hustle makes several assertions that may seem strange to readers not familiar with recent academic and activist debates around work, care, and prostitution. Firstly, Hustle makes a link between acts relating to looking after and being concerned for others (care) and the idea of work. Secondly, she includes prostitution in this “care work”, thus designating prostitution as a form of work similar to professions such as nursing, childcare and domestic work. In fact, Hustle’s statement is typical of a tendency that is becoming more and more prominent in research and activism on prostitution. This tendency, which I call “sex-work-as-care”, emerged in the early 2000s but appears to be rapidly growing in popularity.
In this presentation I will critically examine this tendency in light of its intellectual history. In the first part of the talk, I will characterise the tendency and sketch its history. In the second part, I will argue that its roots lie in two antecedent currents of feminist thought that have greatly influenced its development: firstly, the marxist feminist theory of social reproduction, and secondly research on the concept of “emotional labour” first proposed by Arlie Hochschild in 1983.
The aim of this approach is to reveal some of the theoretical assumptions underlying the sex-work-as-care tendency and thus open them up for critical discussion. This process helps us to answer questions such as: what are the advantages and disadvantages of linking prostitution and care work in this manner? How does this sex-work-as-care tendency shape our ways of understanding and analysing the activities often undertaken by women? And finally, can this approach be improved?
2.1 Book Panel
East Common Room
What happens to black health care professionals in the new economy, where work is insecure and organizational resources are scarce? In Flatlining, Adia Harvey Wingfield exposes how hospitals, clinics, and other institutions participate in “racial outsourcing,” relying heavily on black doctors, nurses, technicians, and physician assistants to do “equity work”—extra labor that makes organizations and their services more accessible to communities of color. Wingfield argues that as these organizations become more profit driven, they come to depend on black health care professionals to perform equity work to serve increasingly diverse constituencies. Yet black workers often do this labor without recognition, compensation, or support. Operating at the intersection of work, race, gender, and class, Wingfield makes plain the challenges that black employees must overcome and reveals the complicated issues of inequality in today’s workplaces and communities. (UC Press)
2.2 Paper Session: Men, Masculinities and Care
Hand-on professional care is deemed as the area of care characterized by one of the most hard working conditions, low salaries, social devaluation, but also feminization and racialization of the field. Research that explores a very low share of men in care employments in general, and in hand on professional care in particular, mostly addresses gender identity issues as the main reasons for diverting men from employment in hand-on care. In this paper we, however, examine how gender identity issues and class issues, i.e. bad working conditions, interplay and co-influence in men's and women's perception of hand-on professional care work. In the fall 2018 we carried out semi-structured individual interviews with 12 men and 12 women working in different fields of hand-on professional care (childcare, eldercare and care for disabled) and with 8 managing directors and stuff recruitment officers in 6 care institutions in Slovenia. In the narratives we observed several paradoxes: even thought men are invited and very positively valued in this work, they are present in a very small share; when men are engaged in hand on professional care, they highly value this work, and do not complain about the working conditions and gender stereotypes; on the contrary, women hand-on professional care workers clearly expose bad working conditions, low social valuation and gender stereotypes related to this work. In attempt to interpret these striking differences between men's and women's perceptions of their work we complement the concepts of doing, un-doing and re-doing gender with the notion of doing, un-doing and re-doing class. Along with that, we point to the differences in working conditions of hand-on care workers in the childcare, eldercare and disability care in Slovenia.
This paper explores a cluster of on-line dads’ groups (that contains several individual and overlapping groups) that connect and support members through online information and discussion, in person meetings, kids’ outings, and monthly dads’ nights out. Despite new scholarship on fathers (Ranson 2015; Podnieks 2016), the literature has not focused on dads engaging with each other through fathers’ groups. In part, this may be because we normatively define caring labor as women’s work. Men’s unpaid caring labor is less visible and men are more often seen as helpers and less often examined as primary providers in their children’s care, unless they are single or stay-at-home dads. By examining men who prioritize and socialize around their caring labor, we can learn more about men who foreground their identities as dads. In actively seeking caregiving support from other dads, these men challenge normative expectations for both masculinity and caregiving. Current research shows a shift in men’s thinking about fatherhood, more toward integrating elements of both traditional breadwinning with contemporary expectations for caring labor (Harrington, Van Deusen, and Humberd, 2011). Yet even among millennial men – who marry later, share breadwinning, and espouse egalitarian child rearing – their actions do not match their ideologies (Harrington et al., 2016). According to recent research, less than one third of millennial dads contribute equal care with moms (Ibid.). Dads group men are unique not only in foregrounding their roles as fathers, but in their search for like-minded men to express their vulnerability, admit their parenting concerns, and share their stories. In effect, the men’s groups act as a safe space for men to express and perform normatively marginalized performances of masculinity with other men. If we hope to understand the possibilities for men’s caregiving, we need to examine groups where change is happening.
In recent years, father involvement in childcare has received a lot of research attention, especially through the introduction of various parental/paternal leave legislations in Europe and beyond. Studies have reported that ideologies towards gender are changing and that women and men are becoming more aligned with egalitarian ideals. As one aspect of socialization, gender ideologies are formed during childhood, e.g. through social values and norms, role models and experiences in daily life, and these ideals can alter through life course events.
Inthe presentation, we show some results of our study concerning father involvement in childcare. In a first step, we investigate whether the caring behaviour of the fathers’ own parents relate to the fathers’ gender ideologies and fathering attitudes. In a second step, we explore how the fathers’ gender ideologies and fathering attitudes, in turn, relate to a greater childcare involvement towards their own children.
We draw on newly collected cross-sectional survey data from a large German state (2017/2018). The richness of our data provides a detailed operationalization of care practices and a scale that asks about caring behaviour of own parents, respectively. Additionally, we included comprehensive scales about gender ideologies and fathering attitudes as well as self-evaluations about being a father (self-concept/-efficacy).
The differentiated measurement allowed us, as a result, to identify three dimensions of fatherhood. We use these to clarify the relationship with the behaviour of ones’ parents as well as the involvement in childcare-tasks. A support of the suspected relations suggests a transmission of the parent generations’ caring behaviour via ideologies and attitudes to the caring behaviour of their sons. Preliminary results show that a unidimensional continuum between traditional and egalitarian is insufficient to capture the variety of fatherhood conceptualisations in German society. Moreover, each of our dimensions shows a unique relation to greater father involvement.
2.3 Panel Session: Regulating Careworker Migration: Immigration Controls in Sending and Receiving Countries
The working lives of Sri Lankan women have traditionally been constrained by rigid gender norms, though labour force participation has increased following the promotion of highly-feminised employment in export production and foreign employment since 1977. While ‘female breadwinners’ have become increasingly prevalent, the expectation that care work is an exclusively feminine undertaking endures. Tensions between work and care are particularly acute for women migrant domestic workers, who must navigate the competing demands of performing paid care work abroad and fulfilling culturally-ascribed care obligations to their own families in Sri Lanka. The ILO’s decent work agenda has promoted a rights-based framework for migrants engaged in paid work, but a lack of policy attention toward the gendered demands of unpaid care work has left crises of social reproduction unaddressed. In Sri Lanka, this vacuum has been filled by the Family Background Report (FBR) – a regressive government circular that addresses public concern for ‘left behind’ families by restricting the migration of women with young children. Though intended to protect women and children, the FBR’s punitive screening process has affirmed traditional gender norms and incited irregular migration. This article draws on in-depth interviews with returned domestic workers and civil society actors to understand how household care needs are managed during migration and to formulate research-driven ‘decent care’ policy principles that redress the FBR and extend the decent work agenda. Findings indicate that migrant households typically depend on the unpaid care work of female relatives or experience care deficits, and suggest that a care-ethical approach involving investment in local care infrastructure could yield multiple benefits for migrant communities.
Care turns into a site of “crisis” with the ageing population, increasing women participation in the labour market, changes in family and gender relationships, and the restructuring of welfare states. As outsourcing of care is happening in tandem with the expansion of the global care labour market, international migration has become the solution to the “crisis of care”. East Asia is no exception to this global phenomenon. As East Asia welfare states expand social care provision, the increasing demands for care workers have led to reforms of immigration policies. The deeply intertwined policy mechanisms also highlight the critical roles that government plays in providing rights and protection for immigrants while providing essential care to those in need. In this paper, I compare Taiwan and South Korea to examine how East Asian states negotiate their elderly care provision and border control. I explore how migrant care labour has become central to the provision of elder care in East Asia and how state’s long-term care provision and immigration controls would shape its migrant care worker policies. Also, I investigate how migrant care worker’s status as both “migrant” and “care worker” are shaped by the political and institutional framework of the state. With the qualitative data I collected over seventeen months of fieldwork, I argue the institutional arrangements of elder care provision and development of immigration policies shape the diverging paths of migrant care worker policies. State’s social policy arrangements, policy sequences and migration legacies have not only shaped how elder care is organized but also affected how labour and membership rights of migrant care workers are negotiated and contested. The timing and policy sequence of elder care policy and immigration policy shape the composition of migrant care worker force, and the labour protections and access to membership rights for migrant care workers.
Migrant care workers often come to South Korea initially as temporary migrants with restricted access to long-term legal status. Many of them take steps to secure long-term legal status and are often successful in their tasks. The extant literature on migrant care workers pays attention to the “temporary” nature of their immigration status, especially their restricted access to permanent residency and the related benefits such as family reunification. However, the literature often assumes time as a uniform and static entity rather than a variable and negotiable one, with limited focus on visa mobility. The paper uses theories of temporalities to understand migrant subjectivities in negotiating their mobility with time. The paper draws from the ethnographic data and personal and group interviews with 16 migrant care workers who experienced visa mobility, from a larger study conducted between 2013 and 2015. I pay attention to three temporalities: immigration time, contracted time and biological time. Immigration time delineates temporary legal status and channels where temporary migrants can ‘upgrade’ their legal status to long-term visas. Contracted time (i.e., time in employment) and biological time (i.e., age) play important roles in migrants’ attainment of long-term status. This paper examines time as a tool to understand how migrants negotiate transnational care in a restrictive immigration system.
2.4. Paper Session: Devaluation in Paid Care
Weber (1958, 1968) and DiMaggio and Powell (1983) have defined and explored the trappings of the modern bureaucratic state. This paper couples these concepts with Fligstein and McAdam’s (2012) theory of fields and Skocpol’s (1992) polity-centered approach to historical analysis, and applies them to the field of early childhood education and care in Massachusetts. Beginning with a historical tracing of the field’s bureaucratic roots and following with empirical examples from ethnographic work done with current family child care providers, I argue that the ‘iron cage’ may now be stagnating the field and preventing it from being able to grow and evolve to reach its stated goals of developing a system of diverse, accessible high-quality early childhood services—and ultimately supporting the inequality inherent in the status quo—by rewarding familiar convention and sanctioning unorthodox innovation. Beyond the field of early childhood, this paper suggests implications for the ways in which bureaucratic values, including the value of quality in care services, are realized (or not) and incentivized (or not) through implementation.
The uneven bargaining power of both firms and workers may be contributing to increased earnings inequality in the U.S. In this paper we ask how did gender-disaggregated trends in earnings inequality in care industries in the U.S. between 1980 and 2017 differ from those in other service industries, particularly financial and business services? Econometric analysis of earnings from the 1980-2016 Current Population Survey shows that growth in earnings of those in the top 10% of the earnings distribution in financial and business industries have outpaced earnings among the top earners in the care industries (health, education, and social services) and other industries. Further, the earnings differential between the top earners (at the 90th percentile) compared with earners at the bottom (at the 10th percentile) of the earnings distribution has grown, leading to increased wage inequality in the U.S. We find that earnings in care industries are more compressed. In contrast, wage dispersion has increased in the financial and business industries. We argue that features of the financial and business sector, such as economic rents, bonuses, performance pay, and the individual’s input has contributed to this large wage growth at the top. Market imperfections create an environment where wages are partially determined by bargaining power. Firms with market power earn extra profits, or rents, and some workers within the financial and business sector are able to capture a share of these. Meanwhile the specific features of care work, including moral commitments, the difficulty of capturing added value, and the importance of team work compress wages in the care work sector. These differences by sector help explain these varying patterns in wage inequality seen by industry.
In an era characterized by constrained public spending, how, and to what extent, are paid care workers absorbing costs of services integral to social reproduction? To explore this question, this paper analyzes a recent Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruling involving the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Association of Ontario Midwives, a decision that offers a window into the gendered nature of the state’s efforts to constrain public spending and provide healthcare provision. Taking this decision as its starting point, this paper adopts a feminist political economy approach to identify and interrogate mechanisms surrounding the (de)valuation of feminized professions in healthcare, such as midwifery. It explores how, under neoliberalism, midwifery—a profession that only gained legitimacy relatively recently—has been destabilized and devalued through governing practices characteristic of this era. It probes, in particular, how the government of Ontario’s efforts to cast midwives as autonomous primary health practitioners, as a means of maintaining the conditions necessary for a sustainable process of social reproduction, interacts with large-scale efforts to limit public spending The paper proceeds in three parts. Section one provides a history of the “professionalization” of midwifery; prompted by a shortage of family physicians practicing obstetrical care, Ontario’s decision to bring midwives into the fold of public healthcare formally offered the government a cost-effective alternative to high-risk specialists, such as obstetricians, providing relatively low risk pregnancy care. Yet, as section two illustrates, with the legitimization of midwifery, the Ministry resorted to different means of (de)valuation available to keep costs associated with its provision of services low, revealing how “neutral” laws, policies, and regulations, contribute to the devaluation of a feminized occupation fulfilling a vital role in reproductive health. Section three explores how such means of (de)valuation might be applied to and challenged within other similarly feminized healthcare professions.
Most healthcare provision in New Zealand is publicly funded by the Government, with responsibility for healthcare budgets and provision delegated to local health authorities known as ‘District health boards’. These local authorities then outsource some elements of healthcare, particularly residential aged care, community and disability care to private care provider organizations (Ravenswood & Kaine, 2015). As in many Western countries, the wages for healthcare assistants in these sectors have been historically low.
In 2017 the New Zealand government made an historic settlement with unions to address the low wages in care work based on historic gender discrimination. It was the culmination of a lengthy process beginning with legal action taken by Kristine Bartlett, a residential aged care worker and her union ‘Ē Tū’, against her employer. The settlement introduced higher hourly wages for healthcare assistants and an increasing hourly pay scale associated with the completion of training and industry qualifications. This settlement was then enshrined in legislation and government funding for the provision of residential aged care, community and disability care.
Ravenswood and Harris (2016) found that although managers said they valued the work itself (i.e. caring), managers still spoke about caregivers as low skilled. This paper explores how internationally ground-breaking legislative and regulatory change in 2017 has influenced managers’ perspectives of care work and healthcare assistants. It is based on focus groups and interviews in 2018 with over 60 managers and care workers in residential aged care, community care and the disability sector in New Zealand.
3.1 Paper Session: Intersections of Migration and Care Policy
East Common Room
Temporary care workers largely have entered Canada under the auspices of the Foreign Domestic Worker Program (FDW),1981-1991 and the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), 1992-2014 to work largely as child minders and elder care givers. Migrants in these care-giver programs are overwhelmingly women and from the Philippines and until December 1, 2014, they were allowed to transition to permanent migrants after meeting various criteria, including employment for a minimum of 24 months as care givers while residing in the employers home. Over the years, care workers, non-governmental organizations, policy analysts and academics have sharply criticized the FCD and LCP programs. Among many other issues, the deskilling and downward mobility of workers originally employed in largely babysitting occupations is a major concern. Many small “N” studies offer poignant testimony to the difficulties that former LCP workers experience when seeking other sites of employment after becoming permanent migrants.
In a highly innovative step, Statistics Canada (the equivalent of the U.S. Bureau of the Census) and the Department of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada merged information on entry visas to 2016 census of population records. Using a big “N” census sample, it now is possible to ask what are the employment outcomes for the LCP caregivers who become permanent residents over an almost 30-year period. Using levels of education and field of study census questions, this paper provides evidence on the long term labour market scarring effects of relatively highly educated migrants who were employed in the LCP program by employing a match-mismatch analysis of education levels, fields of study and occupations.
The article is about a gendered migration policy that has been adopted by several Asian (and African) labor sending countries at different times. The policy bans low-skill temporary female migrant workers, mostly working in the care and domestic work sector, from going to work abroad (with variations such as destination country-specific ban for all female workers or ban for females under a certain age group in certain sectors) with the rationale to protect them from possible harm and abuse. I write a theoretical migration policy article using examples from different countries that have adopted these policies to argue that governments use this policy despite knowing its lack of effectiveness in protecting women from abuse because it provides a short-term solution at a very low cost for the government, allows for blame avoidance and because of their own limitation to influence another country’s laws to protect their migrant workers.
During the mid-twentieth century, the nature of the nursing profession in Canada had drastically changed as a result of the expansion of the Canadian healthcare system, the introduction of Medicare, and the profession became more scientific and specialized. Additionally, the growth of the population necessitated the development, operation, and management of additional hospital units and healthcare services. The local labour pool, however, could not sufficiently provide for the demand in the proliferating hospitals. As an efficient and short-term solution, Canadian hospitals, along with immigration officials, recruited Philippine-trained nurses. In this paper, I discuss the transnational labour migration process and mobility of nurses who immigrated to Canada from the Philippines and via the United States during the 1950s and 1960s. Drawing on in-depth life history/oral history interviews and an analysis of historical documents obtained from archival repositories in Canada and the United States, I examine forms of social organization that coordinated relations between the migration and mobility of participants and the social institutions involved in organizing the transnational labour migration process.
Nearly a third of the nurses arrived prior to the liberalization of Canadian immigration policy in 1962. The implementation of nationalized public healthcare had prompted and coincided with their appointment in the late 1950s, beginning in 1959. Nationalized public healthcare, known as the Hospital Insurance Program enacted in 1957 through the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act (HIDS), was limited to the province of Saskatchewan and Alberta. Subsequently, in 1959, all provinces were in the process of espousing nationalized public healthcare and was expanded to universal healthcare in 1966 under the Medical Care Act. Notably, almost half of my participants were appointed to supervisory positions or nurse educator positions during the post-1962 period. I argue that historical, structural, and social influences had prefigured their labour mobility to and within Canada during the mid-twentieth century. Furthermore, I illustrate how their appointment in Canadian hospitals was organized by social institutions (i.e., government, education, healthcare, family), state policies in the Philippines, United States, and Canada (i.e., immigration, labour, and healthcare), and influenced by the American colonial history of the Philippines.
This paper aims at examining the private sector of U.S. long-term care services, specifically related to immigrant care economies and the home health industry. We interviewed 20 immigrant Filipino women who have been care workers for older adults in Los Angeles, California for at least 10 or more years. Our major findings pertain to the new forms of domestic servitude that characterize this intersectional relationship occurring between the care worker and the care recipient. This phenomenon is exemplified by the 1) combination of oppression/privilege given the social location of the care recipient. They are not just oppressed as women and privileged in terms of class and race (like classic domestic work) but also marginalized due to age and disability. Yet, they are still able to limit this vulnerability to some extent because they can afford to pay for domestic care services. All the while, immigrant women are migrating later in life (in their 50-60s) despite having a college degree and 20-year careers as teachers, small business owners, office workers, accountants, health care workers in their home country. Nevertheless, they leave family members behind even during later stages in their lives and migrate to serve as care workers for the growing older adult population in wealthier regions such as the United States. 2) The formation of a triangular relationship that between the care worker, care recipient, and home health agency also characterizes the nuances occurring in domestic care work. Unlike didactic relationships that have characterized classic domestic labor services, these immigrant care workers describe having two employer relations that they now need to manage. 3) Companionship labor that immigrant care workers provide is unrecognized form of labor despite the importance that such labor provides by serving as the eyes and ears of care recipients who are impaired and helping to prevent social isolation and depression and physical falls that could lead to hospitalization and institutionalization. These new forms of domestic servitude underscore the continued consequences of economic globalization intersected with the privatization of the welfare state.
3.2 Paper Session: Autonomy, Agency and Care
Autonomy is a widely shared cultural value and is often used as an indicator of successful rehabilitation by social welfare institutions. Autonomy’s opposite is often described as force, coercion, or dependence especially for formerly institutionalized populations like the elderly and the mentally disabled. Framing autonomy in this way obscures the way that we manage enduring dependencies throughout the lifecourse.
This paper is a comparative exercise of the meanings that autonomy has for the elderly--who are “exiting” autonomy as they start experiencing new forms of impairment--and disabled young adults--who are “entering” autonomy through an independent living program. We combine our ethnographic data on the tensions between independence and care that arise for each group. We are especially interested in the ways in which two institutions in New York State, an independent living program for disabled adults and a skilled nursing facility for elderly individuals, define and make use of autonomy when they organize carework. The article examines and compares: (1) institutional definitions of ethical care and autonomy; (2) tools, discourses, and strategies used to manage dependencies; (3) what work does autonomy do to reconcile the conflicts and interests of the institution and its clients.
By contrasting institutional differences and similarities across these dimensions, we theorize the multiple and contradictory meanings of autonomy and the ways in which these interpretations shape the labor of caring. As both groups primarily access long-term care through Medicaid, we conclude with a reflection of the expectations the neoliberal welfare state places on citizens for self-sufficiency and autonomy.
Policy change affecting low-wage work in the United States has occurred as worker movements and occupation- and sector-based organizing have adopted new reform agendas and new tactics, as seen in the Fight for 15 movement. Home care aides have been part of this collective action through the National Domestic Workers Alliance and unions including SEIU. Results have included wage gains and the extension of federal overtime regulations to care aides. The policy context of home care work is complex given overlapping state and federal labor and health care policies. Structural parameters also shape the jobs in terms of process factors including skill level, tasks, and visits to clients. Policy applicability often depends on employer type or payer source, while regulations such as training rules may also vary by state, and according to employer-permitted tasks aides may perform. Our research explores how this complex interplay of policy, payer, and employer factors influences aides’ perceptions of what factors structure their jobs and how jobs might be improved. Scholars have noted the influence of industry structure, the isolation of home care, and affective ties between client and caregiver. Less has been written about how bewildering the different sources of authority structuring home care work could be and implications for participation in advocacy efforts. This paper argues that research on job quality and engagement of care aides should take into account both sources of authority over care work and aides’ awareness of the responsibilities of different authority sources for structuring their jobs. Drawing from labour process and legal consciousness theory and pilot survey and interview data on workers, we propose a model of how sources of authority structure intersecting labor process and institutional factors to guide further research. Implications for understanding the dynamic context of job quality, client relationships and advocacy efforts will be discussed.
Birth plans and advance directives both arose out of social movement activism that promoted resistance against medical interventions that activists believed were antithetical to care. The feminist health care and childbirth reform movements led to the creation of “birth plans,” and the death with dignity movement (also called the “right to die” movement), led to the creation of “advance directives” (also called “living wills”). These movements both began in the 1970s in the US and Europe. In both cases, activists focused on the individual autonomy of the patient in birth and death – events during which one’s autonomy may be compromised -- and mobilized against institutional and state control of these experiences. These two documents appear to be unique; I can think of no other situation in which people initiate and produce a document in anticipatory resistance to institutional (lack of) care. Both documents demonstrate a shared understanding of care centered on preserving idealized individual autonomy (even when it may be compromised in actuality) and treating patients with dignity. Both documents demonstrate future patients’ views that they must articulate their wishes in advance because they cannot rely on medical service providers or the institutions that employ them to prioritize either autonomy or dignity. Both documents demonstrate resistance against the lack of care common in medicalized experiences. In this paper, I will analyze scholarly and popular depictions of both documents, primarily in the U.S. context, to illuminate the various conceptions of care they articulate and the critiques of medicalization they promote.
In this paper, I provide an overview of the key findings of my doctoral research, which aims to document and analyze how migrant caregivers ascribe meaning to the (re)productive labour that they provide within Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). Introduced in 1992, the LCP (renamed the Caregiver Program in 2014) recruits women, primarily from the Philippines, to provide care for children, elderly persons, as well as persons with disabilities, in the homes of Canadian families. The objective of the study is to examine the ways in which caregivers make sense of, re-frame, challenge, or resist the problematic tropes attributed to domestic and care work as well as how they negotiate or develop new identities and modes of thinking under the conditions of a policy that positions this work as peripheral to the larger economy. Located in a feminist sociological framework, I conduct a narrative analysis of focus group interviews with 11 current and former migrant caregivers employed in Toronto within the last 15 years. A total of three focus group interviews took place between December 2016 and January 2017 at a community organization that provides services to live-in caregivers in Toronto. Findings demonstrate the ways in which the LCP devalues care work and facilitates the exploitation of migrant women’s time and labour in the context of declining state responsibility for the care needs of Canadian citizens. Participant narratives also reveal the strategies through which migrant caregivers negotiate the stigma associated with carework, by refocusing attention on the relational dimensions of care and reframing the work as a sacrifice. For the women in this study, their identities as workers were inextricably tied to their maternal identities, and the notion of sacrifice was central to how they made sense of and assigned meaning to their experiences in the LCP. Drawing on the concept of embedded agency (Mahmood, 2001; Korteweg, 2008), I examine the cultural significance of the notion of sacrifice and consider the ways in which it simultaneously enabled and constrained migrant caregivers’ agency.
3.3 Panel Session: Care Work & Moral Theory
Although philosophers have a wonderful capacity to question everything, one area seemingly beyond reproach is theory. In this sense, theory is king: a monarch who rules over the Western mind. When it comes to ethical theory, authority rests with a priori abstract systems of normative adjudication. In a quest for certainty, we want to know what constitutes “right” and “wrong” in advance so we can clearly work toward doing the right thing. This is an understandable desire and an admirable goal fulfilled by dominant moral theories such as Kantian rules and utilitarian calculus. However, these approaches place moral authority in normative systems. The thesis here is that care ethics shifts moral authority away from abstract a priori systems to responsiveness within relationships. In this manner, Nel Noddings’ dictum, “The student is infinitely more important than the subject” is mapped onto the human condition more broadly. Effectively responding to the context of individuals in need is more important than any system of moral adjudication. In this sense, care ethics can be said to advocate an “emergent normativity” that cannot clearly indicate in advance of any human interaction what the caring response will be. Yet, this is not moral relativism, as a disposition of caring is brought to the encounter. Furthermore, care ethics transcends “event” oriented ethics (i.e. the trolley car dilemma) to place morality in relationships that extend temporally and imaginatively beyond any single incident. In this manner, care ethics has the radical potential to decolonize moral theory with ontological implications. Individuals are vested with greater agency in being able to respond to the other with a range of actions as implicated by the context. Free from the rule or dogmatism of moral theory, individuals can learn and grow as part of rich caring relationships.
There is a growing literature on multiple ways of being-in and seeing the world – described by the language of the pluriverse (de la Cadena 2015) – that illuminates the different ontologies that exist globally, and the ways in which these ontologies are inextricably connected. Importantly, ontologies in this context do not precede mundane practices. Rather they “are shaped through the practices and interactions of both human and non-humans [and thereby] perform themselves into worlds” (Blaser 2009, 877). The pluriverse is the matrix of ontologies that are connected through relations of power, and thus acknowledges that while we reside in the same present, our ontologies can be very different, and entangled in complex ways.
In foregrounding the deep and pervasive ontological differences that exist globally, the pluriverse also challenges the colonial logic of a singular and shared world, and poses a significant challenge to the field of global ethics. How do we approach moral dilemmas and navigate competing axiological claims when ontological differences are deep and pervasive?
This paper argues that feminist tools – particularly based on the ethics of care – can help us develop an alternative framework for ethics in the pluriverse. Care ethics starts from a feminist relational moral ontology (Hekman 1995), whereby moral subjects are understood to be dependent and vulnerable beings shaped by relations of power. This starting point re-orients how we ‘do’ ethics, because acknowledging our mutual dependence and vulnerability requires that we foreground the vulnerability of our moral judgment (Hutchings 2012), which is, itself, always-already constituted by our ontology. In acknowledging the vulnerability of (all) moral judgment, we are better able to examine the ways in which ethical issues have often already been ‘decided’ by the background norms and relations of power which precede the dialogue (Robinson 2011, 859), and open space for alternative ethical deliberation.
Care ethics, which was introduced as a feminist moral ethics in the 1980s, has recently expanded its application to various disciplines. Among them, the studies on the socio-political implications of care ethics have significantly attracted academic attention. These studies attempt to criticize the existing political theory for overlooking the value of care, reconstruct political concepts, such as freedom, equality, citizenship, and democracy from the perspective of care, and point to the possibility and appropriateness of care ethics as a political theory beyond a moral theory. Based on these research background, this paper tries to relate care ethics to political theory. Referring to a political theory centered on care as carism, this paper purposes to examine the characteristics and merits of carism, which is distinguished from the existing political theories.
This paper attempts to identify the main characteristics of carism at three points: First, carism recognizes and appreciates the value of care. Second, carism identifies and rectifies the injustice of care. Third, carism stipulates the conjunctive responsibility for care.
The practices of care have been going on throughout the history of mankind. However, the political societies so far have overlooked and excluded the value of it. Such neglect and exclusion have led to the serious injustice of society. The existing political theory without care does not have a normative framework to identify and rectify the injustice of care in society. Carism, on the other hand, is able to not only pay attention to the injustice of care, but also justify the conjunctive responsibility for care for rectifying it. Through carism, thus we can advance to a better and more just society.
3.4 Paper Session: Working Conditions for Paid Care Workers
Background An intervention study to improve careworker health, safety, and well-being is underway in a mental health hospital. In this facility, direct care staff including nurses, mental health workers, social workers, and rehab specialists are responsible for patients with severe and persistent cases of mental illness. We are implementing an employee-led problem-solving and priority-setting process. Methods Baseline needs assessment engages rank-and-file workers and managers. Interviews were conducted with facility and union leaders, and workers’ compensation records were examined. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to employees about working conditions, occupational health and safety. A joint labor-management committee, the “Design Team” (DT), was constituted with 8 members from different jobs and 2 co-facilitators (one labor, one management). The facility leadership with decision-making authority comprises the “Steering Committee” (SC). A coach from the Research Team trains and guides both committees in the participatory process. Results Following a DT brainstorming session, burnout was prioritized for the first intervention cycle. A root cause analysis yielded sub-issues including accountability, staff retention, mandated overtime, training, and violence. Priority issues from the leadership interviews included “mental well-being of workers” and “workload – fatigue, turnover, overtime,” suggesting alignment of views between SC and DT. Survey data inform this focus. Most respondents (n = 302) had 40-hour work weeks, but with an average of 5 hours/week overtime. They reported up to 40 hours of mandated overtime in the past month. Almost one-half reported a sleep deficit of one hour or more, and 31% expressed intent to leave the job in the next two years. Additionally, assaults represented 78% of all workers’ compensation claims. Conclusions The DT will next develop three intervention alternatives to address burnout and present their business case to the SC, which will select and implement one proposed intervention. Evaluation of effectiveness should involve both committees, with researcher guidance.
The rapid growth of the older adult population and its implications for the future of healthcare is well-documented; the demographic shift is stressing the already-stressed healthcare system, where projected labor shortages abound. These issues are particularly noteworthy in direct care work and many allied health professions, positions that provide the majority of hands-on care but that are also characterized by jobs with low pay, few benefits, heavy workloads, low job security, and few opportunities for advancement. While many of the frontline care jobs in health have historically varied in their requirements, career pathways reformers seek to increase the standardization of requirements and professionalization of these jobs to facilitate a broader system of work through which workers can advance. In contrast to the internal control and conflict described in Abbott’s The System of Professions (1988), these reforms are efforts to externally introduce elements of professionalization to this workforce. How can we best explain the professionalization of paraprofessionals? In Abbott’s system, professions work to exert control over their own boundaries, in constant contest with others to determine the division of labor, or jurisdiction over work, between interconnected jobs. In career pathways development, external forces (foundations, workforce development professionals, educators, reformers) often act to determine the division of labor between occupations and the boundaries. What are the implications of these external forces on these efforts? We pool data from 48 case studies (employers, colleges, and talent development networks engaged in workforce development programs) within 7 different workforce development initiatives for allied health professionals, discussing the influence of external actors on these efforts and describing how these models fit with the professionalization literature. We propose the roots of a theory of paraprofessionalization, and offer areas for future research and theoretical development. Implications of this theoretical work for career pathways reformers will be discussed.
Care work occupations are distinct from non-care work occupations in a variety of ways, including their gender composition, feminized nature of job tasks, relational aspect of the work, chronic devaluation of caring labor at all levels of educational attainment, and level of required emotional labor. As a result, individuals in care work occupations face a unique set of work-related stressors different from those of their peers in non-care work, which may contribute to heightened levels of psychological distress for care workers compared to their non-care working peers. Although care work occupations are typically dominated by women, men are also employed in care work. In addition to general stressors associated with care work, men and women may face gender-specific stressors (i.e., men experiencing stigma from performing highly feminized job tasks, women experiencing overload from performing multiple shifts of care at work and at home) that may not be present in non-care work jobs. In this spirit, this study aims to address two questions. First, do individuals in care work and non-care work occupations—irrespective of gender—have different levels of psychological distress? Second, does gender moderate the association between occupational type (i.e., care work or non-care work) and psychological distress? To address these questions, I use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to investigate differences in psychological distress—which I operationalize as levels of depressive symptomatology—between these different groups using multi-group modeling techniques, while also utilizing the longitudinal nature of this data to control for a variety of confounds. Results from this study explore both job-related and gender-specific stressors that exist between and among care work and non-care work occupations, with policy implications for enhancing the health and wellbeing of working adults.
Concurrent activist and practitioner workshops
4.1 Workshop. Hidden: The Young Carers of Ontario: Learning about the Experiences of Young Carers
This workshop will explore what happens when formal paid care in families is insufficient or not provided and how children can become “young carers.”
Everyday significant numbers of children take on varying caregiving roles involving different levels of care and support. These “young carers” are providing support for family members who are ill, disabled, or experiencing mental illness or addiction. Helping out in the family can be an experience with ample opportunity for positive growth and development. However, for some children the caregiving can impact their emotional and physical wellbeing, their educational achievements and limit opportunities.
The workshop team will draw directly from Canadian Young Carer’s life stories, national and international research, and front line experience to share the following information with participants:
In addition to the workshop, Hospice Toronto will share photos and stories from the 2019 “Hidden” exhibition.
With photographs from award winning photographer Max Alexander, this exhibition brings to light the experiences of Young Carers across Ontario and tells the story of their hidden lives. Hidden shows the challenges that young carers face and the personal cost of their caregiving responsibilities.
4.2 Workshop. Culture Change: How to Use the Media to Share Research and Influence the Carework Conversation.
As the critical disconnect between our caregiving capacity and our caregiving needs becomes more apparent to the general public, media organizations with a variety of orientations and perspectives have begun to tell stories about care, carework, and care crises. Carework researchers offer critical insights and perspectives on these pressing issues that may not be readily accessible to journalists (due to journal paywalls or the difficulty of academic language and methods). Even when these insights are cited, journalists often make mistakes in reporting on findings or contextualizing the findings without being overly sensational or missing the true value of the research. But popular media nonetheless represents a major opportunity to researchers who are invested in sharing their findings with the public, taking part in policy and other debates, and shifting overall culture to create more supportive and equitable care landscapes. How can you share your research with the mainstream media--either to write your own articles and get them published, or to entice journalists to cover your research? And what is the value of spending this extra attention on media outreach at the end of a long research process? This highly interactive workshop, which has been piloted for groups of work-family researchers, will be hosted by a former academic care researcher who has edited and written hundreds of articles for a major American media company, Slate.com, and co-facilitated by two journalists, including a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author, who work on this beat.
5.1 Paper Session: Discourses of Care
East Common Room
Blending care theory, stand-up comedy and performance art, my paper asks tough questions about the limits of care, the experiences of diverse carers, and the potential for violence at the heart of care relationships. I use an artistic mode to constitute and perform caring relations and imaginaries, rather than simply describing, documenting or reflecting them. My research draws on literary analyses, rapid ethnographic research at two Ontario-based long-term care facilities, and life history interviews with 12 former carers who reached their limits and stepped back from care or family responsibilities. Committed to implicating myself and others in social relations of care (that we are always/already part of), I begin by performing part of a work of art and scholarship (e.g., Recasting care, a theatrical work of cultural criticism) to express sociological insights in artistic forms and to invite alternative valuations and portrayals of care. I cultivate space for reflection and invite conference-goers to inhabit and embody caring relations, as a way to challenge divisions between audiences and objects of analysis, between art and life (Jones, 2008), and between the narrated abject and the subjective integrity of the audience (Kristeva, 1982). From there, I consider the utility of engaging in sociology as art, clarifying how artistic representations offer relationally transformative ways of interpreting and representing social life, registering the fullness and complexity of our experiences and struggles, and producing new and different knowledges. Seeking to tell new stories about the limits of care, my project advances inquiry into the lived organization of care work, while reconsidering care in light of lived, structural complexities. We’ll collectively confront ideas and ideals of care, while searching out more-nuanced understandings and forms of care.
Catherine Smith, University of Melbourne, “Researching the Discursive in Practices of Care.”
This paper discusses a research method for examining care and social justice. To do this, it presents the method in action in researching care practices in schools. Research data was collected in five Australian secondary schools in two cities. Australia provides an unfortunately ideal place to study care, inequity and the role education plays in reproducing advantage and disadvantage; recognized as among the bottom third most inequitable schooling in the world (UNICEF 2018).
In the analytical framework for this research method, practice is understood to be informed by the embodiment of previous social interactions, or habitus (Bourdieu 1990a, b), interacting with context. Recent cognitive science supports understanding habitus incorporating ‘how bodies, cognitive schemas, and social contexts interact’ (Ignatow 2009: 104). Moral evaluations are understood as influenced by feelings in the body. Moral boundaries are therefore understood to be important ethical considerations for the associations which define relationality in teaching. Care practices were examined both at the level of the practitioner’s body and the level at which the practitioner interacts with other people, practices and organisational structures.
Social justice policy environments and demographics were studied to provide contextual evidence for each school. Using video stimulated interviews (three per teacher), the classroom practices of nine teachers were co-analysed drawing out beliefs about social justice, care and the (dis)connection within the teachers’ observed practices. Finally, teachers observed the videos of others and discussed the role context might play in the practices of those teachers. These research methods provoke a reflexive practice, which is understood in the literature as key to ‘reading’ the dispositions which influence practice.
Findings indicate that this reflexive method promotes discussion and identification of personal strategies to overcome inequities and precariousness by permeating the boundaries that perpetuate concepts of othering and difference. It allows participants to read their care practices through a social justice lens.
In 2013, the Conference of International Labor Statisticians, whose agenda the International Labor Organization (ILO) sets, recognized unpaid reproductive labor as ‘work’ by recommending that official statistics include “own-use production.” Its new definition encompassed work “that produces goods and services for household consumption,” such as “collecting firewood and fuel, fetching water, cooking, cleaning and also providing care for children, the elderly and other dependents.”  Care had become work.
As the ILO approached its Centennial, domestic work became linked with a reemphasis on family responsibilities, packaged as care, a component of the “Women at Work Initiative.” This highlighting of the centrality of reproductive labor appeared as a new departure, but its components consisted of previous actions brought in from the periphery and refurbished.
Taking off from these ILO understandings of carework, this paper reconsiders the Marxist dichotomy between productive and reproductive labor and asks what work has care performed within global capitalism? As a theoretical intervention, it aligns itself with those that see reproduction as productive, making people and subsequently the labor power necessary for other forms of production to occur. It rethinks reproductive labor along four dimensions: first, pregnancy and birth as a form of work in itself; second, the quotidian activities of daily life performed for oneself and household members as also work; third, paid household and carework as commodified reproductive labor in intimate settings; and fourth public reproduction through social services and infrastructure, such as clinics, schools, and water systems. To illustrate the variety of ways that reproduction is production over time and space, I will draw on a capricious body of scholarship, as well as my own empirical research on wageless and low waged household labors, their relationship to exchange and use value, and their circulation within relations of power between nations as well as gender and class.
Australian aged care services operate in a maze-like, competitive financial environment rhetorically infused with ideals such as person-centred care, consumer directed care and consumer choice. In this context, non-profit and for-profit providers bid for subsidies based on the assessed needs of elders living in residential aged care facilities and those still living independently. Recent media reports of scandalous neglect and abuse of residents in several aged care facilities have exposed serious flaws in this model, notably its regulatory softness and the opportunities it provides for profiteering. As a commodity, care is subject to reductive processes that contradict care ideals and disconnect care from service provision.
The harm to the parties concerned in direct care transactions and to care itself has been well documented (e.g. Fine and Davidson 2018; Kaine and Green 2013). However, there is little published Australian work that describes the impact of local contexts such as the diversity and complementarity of services, workforce availability, training opportunities and employer-employee relationships on the realisation of care as a practice and as an ideal. In this paper, we draw from four research projects undertaken in several Australian rural locations from 2010 to the present time. We re-examine mixed methods data to describe the impacts of marketisation, consumer directed care and other challenges such as the aging workforce, consumer acuity, skill deployment and recruitment and retention issues on samples of both community and residential care sites. In particular, we focus on care itself, how it may be defined, enacted and preserved within and through broad and local structural circumstances. The tripartite concept of care as an emotional disposition, a social relationship and as labour (Fine and Rummery 2012) frames our analysis of care as the core and moral dimension of service provision and direct care work.
5.2. Paper Session: The Paid Care Workforce – Occupations and Labor Markets
Historically, professional, paraprofessional, and non-professional caring occupations (jobs often associated with “women’s work”) have been a dominant labour market entry path for immigrant and racialized women in Canada, through work that is often undervalued and underpaid (Banerjee et al. 2018, Boyd 2017). In particular, scholars have noted the prevalence of precarious employment—work that is insecure, offers limited protections and benefits, and allows workers minimal autonomy, recourse, or control—within low status caring jobs, with contingent effects that are often shouldered disproportionately by people who are the most marginalized (Goldring and Landolt 2012, Kalleberg 2011, 2009, Jokela 2018).
This paper measures patterns of precarious employment within high and low status paid care work among immigrant and racialized women in Canada. Using 2016 and 2006 census microdata, I examine four components of work precarity – part-time employment, temporary employment, low wages, and a lack of job benefits – and map their frequency within a) paid domestic labour in private homes, b) others forms of low status care work, c) professionalized caring occupations, and d) in non-caring employment. I measure the probability of working in precarious forms of care work for immigrant and racialized women, disaggregating by their time since arrival to Canada and specific ethno-racial background. The use of two time periods allows for examination of a shift in rates of precarious care work over the last decade, comparing prior to and after the 2008 financial crisis. Findings confirm the disproportionate reliance on precarious labour within low wage care work, with increasing rates over time, and the overrepresentation of immigrant and racialized women in low wage, low prestige jobs in health and education, regardless of individual human capital.
Paid care work includes a wide range of occupations that comprise a growing proportion of the labor market in the US and other countries. In the United States, the growth of the formal care sector has contributed to increasing job polarization and worker stratification along class, gender, and racial/ethnic lines by generating both lower-paid, less-skilled jobs and higher-paid, high-skill occupations in health, education, and other services. While it is well documented that low- and middle-skill care occupations employ higher proportions of women and minoritized workers, the explanations for these employment patterns have yet to be fully assessed in the literature. Using event history analysis and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), this study considers both individual and structural explanatory mechanisms for the sorting of Black and Latino women and men into low and middle-skill care occupations. Assessing differences in hazard rates or “risks” for entering nurturant or reproductive care work among non-college workers by gender and race/ethnicity provides a unique opportunity to examine several key processes related to labor market inequality in the New Economy. Results show that Black workers and Latino men are significantly more likely to be employed in care work, relative to their white counterparts. Individual and job characteristics explain Latino men’s greater risk for employment in reproductive care jobs, yet large and significant effects remain for Black men and women after all controls are included in the models. These results bring into stark relief the potential role of labor market discrimination in channeling marginalized workers into jobs with lower pay and fewer benefits in the care sector.
Since the 1970s, many male-dominated jobs have contracted while the demand for occupations traditionally held by women has increased significantly, with these patterns expected to continue in the future. Despite these trends, men have made limited progress in entering female- dominated jobs. Younger men in today’s economy, however, may have more flexible views of masculinity and more economic need to enter female-dominated occupations and remain employed in these occupations as compared to older men. In this study, we use the 2004 and 2008 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation to examine whether younger men (18-24) are more likely to enter female-dominated occupations than adults (25-44) and middle-aged men (45-65), as well as whether young men persist in female-dominated occupations once they are employed. We find that younger men are more likely to enter female-dominated occupations, and once young men have entered female-dominated occupations, they are as likely to stay in a female-dominated occupation as their counterparts in mixed- or male-dominated occupations. Our findings suggest that younger men may be more open to working in female-dominated occupations as compared to older men; once younger men enter female-dominated occupations, they are retained.
Katherine Zagrodney, University of Toronto, “Differences in PSW Job Characteristics and Labour Supply Behaviours by Care Sector: The Disadvantaged Home and Community PSW.”
To address the growing cost of health care and changes to the patient population - including an increase in seniors and individuals with chronic conditions - many countries have recently pushed for a shift in care delivery away from institutionalized care and towards the expectedly more appropriate, patient-desired, and less expensive home and community (HC) sector. A shift towards HC translates to an increase in Personal Support Worker (PSW) utilization, as PSWs provide the majority of HC care. Yet the implications of an increase in HC PSW utilization are largely unknown. Current literature is scarce in describing how PSW job characteristics and labour market outcomes differ by hospital versus long-term care (LTC) versus HC sectors. Without such information, our ability to understand the impact of this sectoral shift on PSWs across sectors and resulting consequences to those receiving PSW care within each sector is limited. The current research aims to fill in some of these gaps as the first known Canadian study to compare PSW characteristics by hospital versus LTC versus HC sectors across a multitude of job characteristics (e.g. unionization), employer characteristics (e.g. public versus private), labour supply behaviours (e.g. number of hours worked), pensions, earnings and wages. Significant differences by sector reveal the particularly disadvantaged HC PSW position compared to LTC and hospital PSWs. Implications for HC PSWs, HC patients, as well as PSWs in general must be considered as a critical issue in care delivery; especially given the increased utilization of HC care and projections of a growing role for PSWs into the future. How care work is recognized and compensated outside of hospital institutions could be a potential driving force of such sectoral discrepancies. This type of research is useful for policy-makers, activists, and other stakeholders to drive advocacy and design policies related to PSW job conditions and any related consequences of such factors.
5.3. Panel Session: Decent/Good Care: International Approaches to Aged Care
In most OECD countries, population aging, a fall in the numbers of informal carers and increasing costs are placing pressure on aged care services. Yet there is little understanding, at either the policy or workplace levels, of how the sustainability and quality of aged care services are affected by the quality of aged care jobs. Evidence shows that job quality and care quality are closely connected through care relationships, however less is known about how care is played out at the level of everyday practice and policy in this highly gendered sector. This panel explore how is this connection negotiated between aged care workers and aged care recipients, as well as how are these care relationships shaped by national policies, funding and regulation and by organisational practices and work design. The panel draws on qualitative interview and observation data collected in Australia and New Zealand as part of a three-year project on the links between decent work and good care (the larger project also includes Canada and Scotland). The main objective of this cross-national study is to better understand how national policies, funding and regulation, operationalized through organisational practices and work design, shape both the quality of work and the quality of care. Highlighting the interplay of gender, organisation, social policy and policy regimes, the papers in this panel analyse how the organisation of care relationships in aged care services, between care workers and aged care recipients, can best promote job quality in the work of aged care and sustainable, good quality aged care services.
Since the publication of Koloroutis’ edited collection on Relationship-Based Care (RBC) in 2004, RBC has displaced patient-based care and family-based care as preferred models for nursing practice in hospitals, home care and aged care in English speaking countries around the globe. Part of the enthusiastic uptake of RBC is likely that it does not challenge austerity, underfunding and extensive managerialism, but instead works within them to foster caring, interpersonal connections between patients, staff and families. Drawing on qualitative interview and participant observation data collected in two reputable, aged-care organizations in Australia, that used a relationship-based care model, this paper explores the research participant’s stories about their work and develops a typology of workplace relationships in the relationship-based care endeavor. In order to analyse the emotional aspects of relationships and relationship-based care, we draw on Hochschild’s (1983) differentiation between emotional work (management’s efforts to harness and control employees’ emotions) and emotional labour (the capacity of workers to have control over some or most of their emotions in the workplace). In order to generate a typology of relationships in relationship-based care organizations, this paper weaves Hochchild’s above mentioned concepts with Bolton’s (2009, 2005) four types of emotion management in the workplace: 1) pecuniary; 2) prescriptive; 3) presentational; and 4) philanthropic. Overlapping in a number of ways, our typology of relationships in the workplace includes: 1) austere-cost containment; 2) official discourse-managerialism; 3) inevitable caring; 4) compulsory philanthropy and 5) faux control. The paper maps and analyses these relationships and contributes to debates on care work, relationship-based care, emotional labour and emotion management, and care work in the context of austerity and managerialism.
The importance of working time autonomy, that is control over the quantum and scheduling of work hours, is a central feature of worker-centred studies on home care work (Hayes 2017; Boivin 2016). Another recurring finding of such studies is the emphasis home care workers place on having ‘enough time’ to care for their clients (Briar et al. 2014; Rubery et al. 2015). Our paper draws on the Decent Work Good Care project and three in-depth case studies of home care services in Australia and New Zealand. That project employs a multi-scalar perspective to explore how national care markets, policy and regulation shape both the working conditions of care workers and the conditions of care at the provider level. Within the context of homecare work, our paper explores how the related time autonomy and time to care aspects of worker job quality are shaped by national policy and organisational practice. The paper focuses on convergences and divergences between Australian and New Zealand policy frameworks and organisational practices that structure homecare worker job quality. In Australia, where the policy shift to ‘client-centred’ or personalised care has paradoxically weakened the potential for working time autonomy and time to care, organisational practice provides an important protective function for workers. In New Zealand, however, aged care policy and institutional architecture appears to be more protective for workers and supportive of good organisational practices in rostering and time allocated to clients.
Care work provided in nursing homes is organized within a temporal tension between process time -- the discontinuous tempo of caring without compartmentalizing such as doing two things at once -- and clock time -- a commodified time that compartmentalizes and orders the care provided (Davies, 1994). Furthermore, how the rhythm and cadence of care work varies between facilities and countries is signaled by the penetration of New Public Management (NPM) tools, which commodifies time as well as exacerbate and rigidifies temporal tensions, for instance, the extent to which the care work schedule is rigid, task oriented, hierarchical and transactional or flexible, relationship- and team-oriented and allows for “taking time” (Daly and Szebehely, 2011).
Valerie Bryson (2007) refers to time tensions as the politics of time. This paper comparatively explores the micro-politics of time as it is experienced in front-line nursing home care work — in Ontario, Canada, New South Wales, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand — and set within a macro-politics of time that variously employs NPM tools. The methodology involved rapid team-based ethnographies (Baines and Cunningham, 2013; Armstrong and Lowndes, 2018) conducted in 5 publicly funded nursing homes, with teams of 5-9 researchers who observed and conducted key informant interviews with front-line and management staff. Drawing from feminist political economy theory, the paper compares how care work is scheduled and staffed in relation to what is expected, when it is performed and how it is documented. We found variation in the cadence of care related to the penetration of New Public Management tools, and determined by organizational staffing levels and macro-level documentation demands.
5.4 Paper Session: Care Ethics and Radical Politics
With the rise in right wing politics, growing inequality and ongoing environmental destruction, the prospect of universal justice-for-all remains significantly diminished. Within this context, social movements and collective action offer some hope for reinvigorating politics of the Left. Yet, as Fraser (2008) argues, there is a lack of consensus about how to move forward. Current justice debates lack a shared understanding about the grammar of justice, the form of agency or redress, what constitutes justice, who is entitled to considerations of justice, and the appropriate process or conceptual space—economic or cultural—for discussing and settling justice claims (Fraser, 2008). This theoretical and conceptual impasse—the result of a bifurcation of theories of redistribution (political economy) and theories of recognition and representation (radical democracy)—makes it difficult to find a common grammar and the conceptual means for mounting a strong and effective political response (Butler & Athanasiou, 2013; Chari, 2015; Fraser, 2008).
In this paper I argue that feminist ethics of care offers the conceptual tools and resources to bridge the theoretical divide between theories of redistribution and recognition/representation. I explore the key concepts, as well as ontological and epistemological assumptions, associated with ethics of care that are useful for creating a radical theory of politics of the Left. The radical potential of care ethics lies in the relational ontology, value and pervasiveness of care, and by situating the source and target of critique within the moral register. By acknowledging and accommodating context and difference ethics of care addresses issues of recognition and representation. Likewise, when care enters the public realm, the invisibility, taken-for-granted-ness, inequities and oppression, associated with existing practices of care, no longer remain hidden. Care ethics offers a powerful critique of capitalism by showing how capitalism is based on free and undervalued care labour. Lastly, care ethics’ assumption of the equal moral worth of all, addresses issues of redistribution, recognition and representation.
In Caring Democracy (2013), Joan Tronto argues that unless public deliberations explicitly address questions about who has the responsibility for providing care, democratic societies will perpetuate a politics in which the care dimensions of life are undervalued, as well as inequities in terms of who receives and provides care. Tronto (2011) also argues that the voices of caregivers themselves must be part of the public debate about the provision of care.
In recent works I have explored the way that educators in the US and Canada have put Tronto’s ideas into practice by framing their demands for sufficient resources to meet the needs of their students through a democratic ethic of care (Brickner 2016, 2015). Criticism of this work has questioned the practicality of using “care” as a way to frame educators’ political demands. For example, because care work is gendered and undervalued, the public may be more likely to dismiss educators’ demands that are framed along the lines of a “narrative” of care than if those demands were framed along the lines of professional needs. This critique challenges the very possibility of a “caring democracy” by suggesting that the public will reject demands that are centered around the responsibilities we have to care for students.
This paper explores the validity of this critique by examining the way that educators in four American states—Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia—framed their demands during a series of legal and wildcat job actions in the spring of 2018. I argue that the way that educators framed their demands to reinvest in public education (and educators) provides lessons on how to generate public support for caring labor without abandoning the explicit framework of “care.”
The presentation will discuss about the issue of “comfort women” in Japan, especially the controversy over “the Girl Statute for Peace” with the insights of Care Ethics.
Some survivors of sexual slavery of Japanese Troops during the WWII and their supporters in South Korea started to hold “Wednesday Demonstration” to protest the irresponsibility of the Japanese government every Wednesday in 1992 in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. For the 1000th anniversary of the Demonstration in December 2011, “the Girl Statute for Peace” was established. Right after the first iteration of the “Girl” Statute was unveiled, the Japanese government asked the Korean government to displace the statute and claimed that the statute impaired the dignity of the mission.
For all oppositions, since the first iteration of the statute, numerous girl statues have been built in more than thirty cities in South Korea as well as in some cities in U.S, and Canada.
On the other hand, some scholars in Japan started to criticize the statute for its way of representation of “comfort women.” They argued in following ways; 1) “the girl” is easily appropriated by the dominant narratives of patriarchal Korean society; 2) “the girl” conveys a strong message that victims of sexual violence should be innocent; 3) The presence of “girl” misrepresented various memories, especially those of Korean women who experienced not only sufferings but also affection toward the Japanese soldiers.
Ethics of care, especially ethical theories of Margaret Walker and Judith Butler, can provide us with an alternative way to assess the statute. I try to revalue the presence of the statute and make clear that the statue becomes radically critical of Japanese patriarchal and post-colonial power configuration not although but rather because it is the figure of girl.
This paper argues that many of the attempts to organize care in the terms of justice -- to ensure that care is just --unwittingly wed care to frameworks of exchange, reciprocity and mutuality that are inadequately attentive to the enduring aspects of a subject’s vulnerability and the constancy of inequality as a feature of social relationship. Specifically, embedded in these models is the idea that there is always a return to the investor/provider of care. This then implies that the investment in care provision is 1) not a sacrifice but a postponement of return/benefit; 2) that the returns on the investment accrue discretely and are measurable 3) and derivatively, that construing care as an investment in longer term autonomy, just caring may concede that those in need of immediate care are rarely in a position to make prompt return on investment, but they will eventually, ‘pay it back.’ Understood in this way care is easily assimilated to neoliberal models of rational exchange, models that reinforce rather than challenge underlying inequality and arguably, even if unwittingly, re-inscribe the normative value of autonomy over caring relationships. I conclude by suggesting that a politics of generosity is more adequate to democratizing care.
6.1. Paper Session: Global Landscapes of Gender, Family, and Care
East Common Room
Background: Up to 70 percent of individuals suffering from dementia in the U.S. are cared for at home and approximately 9.8 million family members take on this responsibility. Dementia caregivers are at risk for poor quality of life and declining mental and physical health. Latina caregivers report higher levels of burden and depression compared to other ethnic groups. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine how gender, class, and ethnicity shape dementia Latina caregivers’ experiences over time. Methods: This is longitudinal qualitative study. A convenience sample of 15 Latina dementia caregivers was recruited in the Sacramento region. Caregivers completed seven in-depth interviews, along with structured questionnaires to assess physical and mental health. Data from in-depth qualitative interviews were analyzed thematically from a grounded, social constructivist approach. Results: Latina caregivers develop the skills and tacit knowledge to give care in the home as their burden increases given the frequent changes in cognitive functioning of their elderly relative. Latina caregivers become adeptly deploy observational and analytical skills that allow them, for example, to identify changes in memory and mood so they might adjust their care giving in the home. Their accounts highlight Latinas’ development of a caregiving craft that may alleviate their perception of physical and emotional burden so prevalent among dementia caregivers. This paper concludes with implications for our understanding of dementia caregiving as non-lay work in the home context.
Much of the research on Mexico-US migration focuses on the effect of demand shifts in the United States, or on the economic impact of immigration in destination communities, particularly on native wages and employment rates in immigrant heavy industries, such as agriculture and construction. Less researched are migrant female labor supply decisions, particularly considering the increasing domestic service worker demand in the United States. Motivating evidence from the Mexican Migration Project shows that the proportion of female-to-male Mexican migrants to the United States is increasing, even as total Mexican migration is decreasing. This research uses Mexican Migration Project data from two different periods to examine the differences in the determinants of female labor migration during two periods. A difference-in-difference static labor supply model is used to explore the supply side story of female Mexican migration changes between peak migration in 2006/2007 and a period of rapidly diminishing migration in 2015/2016. Isolating the dominating demand-side effects, preliminary results show evidence of dissolving care-chain between Mexico and the US, with a stronger care-chain developing between Central America and Mexico. These results tell an important story about the impact of institutional and geographic changes in social reproductive work and the sustainability of a traditional household division of labor in light of the increased pressures of global capitalism.
Canada remains among the only few countries in the world that maintains a pathway for permanent residency (PR) eligibility through specific temporary foreign worker programs for carework migration. Despite the growth of carework migration globally, the opportunity to establish PR continues to make Canada one of the most attractive destinations for carework migration, enticing thousands of women each year who bring with them skills, experience, and capital accumulated over a series of carework migrations. Influenced by both the Canadian government’s regulations as well as the limited settlement options throughout the global care economy, how this particular stepwise trajectory contributes to increased precarity has received less attention.
This paper presents findings from a qualitative research study on the health experiences of Filipina women who have participated in Canada’s Live-In Caregiver Program (LICP). The study took place between Toronto, Ontario and Metro Manila, Philippines over September 2016 to November 2017 and used ethnographically informed methodologies, including interviews, participant-observation, and fieldnotes. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 Filipina women who were in or previously in the LICP as well as 10 key informant interviews in Toronto and 12 in Manila. Thematic analysis of the interview texts was performed through multiple stages of coding to identify significant themes both within and across groups of women who have taken part in the program as well as key stakeholders across Toronto and Manila.
We found that while women who came to Canada directly from the Philippines experienced similar occupational challenges, those who had undergone stepwise migration were distinctly more vulnerable upon arrival and faced more struggles completing the LICP. They were most often exploited by complex networks of recruitment agencies resulting in immediate difficulties finding shelter upon arrival, securing employment, maintaining legal immigration status as well as producing long-term financial hardship.
6.2. Paper Session: Subjectivities and Identities in Care
In this paper, we investigate how Indian immigrant nurses in the U.S. navigate their status as the primary migrant, family breadwinner with the incessant feminizing discourse of immigrant nurses as selfless healers. The paper is based on in-depth interviews with 45 Indian migrant nurses and their husbands, three years of ethnography in nursing conferences that Indian nurses in the U.S. attended, and in the homes and churches of the nurses (most Indian immigrant nurses tend to be Christians). What is distinctive about immigrant nurses in the U.S. is that they hold skilled-worker visas, and their spouses hold dependent spousal visas that prevent them from legally working in the US. This makes the nurses the primary migrant and the breadwinner. However, at work the immigrant nurses experience more exploitative circumstances than native-born nurses. The situation is further complicated when the U.S. employer applies for permanent residency (PR) for the nurses. The PR application binds the workers to their employers for years during which time they often endure prolonged gendered and racialized exploitation. Parallelly, the nurses are continuously subjected to the discourse of nursing work as healing work in formal and non-formal environments such as, by recruitment agencies, at nursing conferences, by superiors and peers at work, in their churches and at home. This makes them constant careworkers and caregivers in every aspect in their lives. Their internalization of the notion of immigrant nurses as healers often prevents the nurses from processing and verbalizing their gendered and racialized experiences at work, double shifts at home and caring for community members. Nursing work as healing work becomes their path toward self-making in the new country. As such, we argue that immigrant nurses operate in what we call a “migrant carework regime” which is bolstered by the intersections of migration policies and a feminized and racialized discourse of migrant nursing work.
Background: Informal caregiving has been conceptualized by some carework scholars as an “unexpected career” and by others as a unique identity. Regardless of its characterization however, lack of identification as an informal caregiver (ICG) can lead to underutilization of services. Methods: In-depth interviews conducted with 25 caregivers were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. IGCs interviewed had varied caregiving experiences and backgrounds. Results: In contrast to prior theory, this study found no interviewees who defined their caregiving as a career. In fact, no study participants, including a homemaker and retired interviewees, identified informal caregiving as their occupation. When interviewees recognized their carework instead as a “job” however, it was associated with a “difficult” care recipient (CR), heavy workload, and/or other features reflecting a poor job fit. Previous informal caregiving experience, as well as skills or characteristics that were perceived as relevant to caregiving appeared to instill initial confidence in an ICG’s ability when they first took on the job. These expectations could however lead to feelings of inadequacy when there was a mismatch between an ICG’s self-perception and what they were asked or permitted to do. Those describing a caregiving job as a poor fit, also expressed negative emotions, regretted behaviors, and sometimes discussed withdrawal from the job. On the other hand, ICGs with positive carework experiences used terms such as “rewarding” or concepts such as developing new skills, or being “trusted” that one might use to describe a satisfying but challenging job. Self-definition as a “good caregiver” therefore relied less on eventual CR outcomes and more on how much ICGs felt that they could or had been able to accomplish in the role. Conclusions: Study findings suggest the need for individual ICG assessment and reskilling for each particular caregiving situation to reduce perceived burden and associated ICG withdrawal.
As the population of Aoteaoroa/New Zealand ages, informal, family-based caregivers are predicted to play an increasingly important role in caring for older adults experiencing chronic and age-related health and wellbeing issues. Multi-generational and in particular three-generational living arrangements, combined with informal caregiving of older relatives, are a growing trend; a trend even more pronounced among Māori and Pasifika communities where care of older relatives at home is valued.
Caregivers have reported that they were often unprepared for their caregiving role and wished that they had had more information before they started. Caregivers who take an older relative into their home, or move in with them, face a more complicated task and experience more stress than caregivers whose relative lives independently. This paper reports on a project that explored information, support, and other needs of current caregivers, and the expectations of prospective carers about the anticipated caregiving role. Interviews with 10 current caregivers and 10 prospective caregivers were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded independently. Using thematic and narrative analyses, stories of expected benefits and challenges anticipated by prospective carers were compared with those experienced by current caregivers.
For prospective caregivers, the data indicated that some younger participants (aged 18-27 years), especially Māori, expected to care for older family members. The paper considers the implications of specific cultural, and wider socio-political influences in socialising different groups to role expectations in caring of older family members. Current caregivers reported that although direct care and coordination is often provided by a main caregiver, support from other family members for both caregiver and the older relative is crucial to the wellbeing of all. Somewhat surprisingly, initial expectations of caregiving, while often unrealistic or unmet, did not deter some caregivers and supporters, leading us to rethink how we might prepare future caregivers for their role.
Brittnie Aiello, Merrimack College, Krista McQueeney, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, “‘Grandma is the Next Best Thing to Mommy’: Incarcerated Motherhood, Caregiver Relationships, and Maternal Identity.”
Over eighty percent of incarcerated women are mothers, but only the most fortunate of these mothers have caregivers on the outside who are willing and able to care for their children while they do time behind bars. Caregivers and incarcerated mothers are intertwined in complex ways related to women’s histories as mothers, pre-existing relationships with their children’s caregivers, access to communication, and likelihood of reunification with their children. Yet, little research has explored how incarcerated mothers perceive and give meaning to caregiver relationships. Drawing on interviews with 83 mothers incarcerated in a county jail in the northeast, we analyze the creation, maintenance, and recreation of mother identities among women who, by virtue of their physical separation from their children during incarceration, must rely on caregivers to care for and help their children escape the vicissitudes of the child welfare system. We examine two sets of social dynamics that converge and clash in the lives of these incarcerated mothers. On the one hand, the mothers were acutely aware that caregivers played a vital role in helping their children survive and remain connected with their mothers while locked up. On the other hand, mothers and caregivers did not always get along or communicate effectively, the mothers were sometimes dissatisfied with how their children were being cared for, and some of the mothers felt threatened or even replaced by caregivers. We demonstrate how incarcerated mothers negotiate the social expectations of mothering and their physical separation from their children through an invaluable but largely overlooked form of social capital: caregivers.
6.3. Panel Session: Organizing Care Workers: Innovative Strategies from Domestic Worker Organizing across Asia and North America
Domestic workers have long pursued creative forms of collective organizing, across the globe, to challenge the interlocking inequalities of race, nation, migration, class and gender so starkly evident in home-based care work. As paid domestic work proliferates, combining in new ways with elder, disability and health care work while continuing to entail a large portion of child care and housework, understanding the organizing strategies of domestic workers are more important than ever. The creativity of domestic worker organizing stems in part from their exclusion from key labour and employment protections and from some labor and feminist organizations. Yet, domestic workers have organized despite labor law and outside traditional labor structures, through migrant associations, self-employed informal workers’ unions, cooperatives, workers centers and other organizational forms. They have recently won recognition as workers from the International Labour Organization but the work to make domestic work decent work continues in national – and transnational – contexts. This panel examines and compares recent organizing campaigns and strategies of domestic workers in Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Canada and the U.S. It highlights both old and new strategies like civil society advocacy work for changes in migration policies that recognize domestic workers as family members and transnational citizens; changes in labour legislation that both include them as workers and recognize the uniqueness of their work; workers’ stories and media work that help shift the terms of the debate to value domestic care work; collective structures that build migrant women’s leadership; and worker collectives that imagine more just and democratic care work relations.
The rise in the numbers of migrant care and domestic workers in Asia has led to a corresponding rise in the numbers of advocacy organizations geared towards migrant care and domestic workers’ needs. By examining the types of advocacy organizations that are present in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines, my goal in this paper is to highlight the range of activism that form part of the ‘politics from below’ in receiving and sending states. The material for this analysis is based on one-on-one interviews that I conducted in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines in 2010, 2011, and again in 2017. Through this research, I make the following claims: First, Hong Kong and Singapore, as receiving states, have well-established foreign domestic workers’ program yet differ in terms of the types of advocacy organizations that are active. Whereas migrant advocacy organizations in Hong Kong enjoy a more open space for their activist pursuits due to a greater tolerance in Hong Kong for civil society organizing, migrant advocacy organizations face constraints in Singapore where regulations limit the ability of migrant workers to participate directly in activism. In contrast, the Philippines, as a sending state, has a plethora of migrant advocacy organizations that represent the needs of Filipino migrants, future migrants, and their families. Second, I argue that while these organizations vary in terms of activities, goals, size, structure and political ideologies, their ability to center the needs of migrant care and domestic workers in their work unites them. Ultimately, an analysis of the ‘politics from below’ in these three states illustrates how organizations have created generative political spaces to represent migrant care and domestic workers, thereby responding to and in some cases transcending the reaches of state policies.
Care Workers in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Montreal came together on November 18, 2018, to launch the “Landed Status Now: Care Workers Organize!” Fourteen Care Worker organizations have called on the Canadian government and society to treat Care Work with respect and dignity. They ask that care workers be able to come to Canada with permanent residency upon arrival and with their families. Two activists from one of these organizations, the Toronto-based Caregivers Action Centre (CAC) will talk about how they got here and where we need to go next. CAC is a grass-roots organization of live-in care workers, former care workers, newcomers and their supporters. Their mission is to educate, inform and inspire care workers. They work collectively and in unison toward winning respect, fairness and dignity for all care workers.
Organizing a workforce that has been largely excluded from the right to collective bargaining requires a diversity of interlocking strategies. Lisa Moore, Field Director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance (U.S.) will discuss the Alliance's use of legislation, innovation and narrative shift strategies to build power and improve working conditions for the estimated 2.5 million nannies, housecleaners and home care workers in the United States.
This paper explores the challenges and opportunities for organizing migrant private sector in-home careworkers. Drawing on a case study of Filipina women private sector in-home elder careworkers in California, this paper first identifies particular constraints for this group of workers who, in various ways, fall outside of legal labour protections. Interviews with nineteen private sector in-home elder careworkers suggest that structural and microlevel factors shape workers’ precarity and vulnerability to workplace exploitation. Immigration status and an agency-based model of employment, as well as the physical, temporal and emotional demands of carework limited workers’ ability to both assert their workplace rights and participate in labour rights campaigns. In light of the constraints experienced by the women workers in this case, this paper will draw on sociological literature on workers’ movements strategies to discuss the potential for re-organizing private sector in-home carework. Social scientists have argued that the reorganization of economic relations through solidarity economy practices can challenge the status quo, providing more just and democratic work relations. This paper examines to what extent solidarity economy practices, such as cooperatives, provide potential solutions for the workplace challenges facing private sector in-home careworkers.
6.4. Roundtable Session: Childcare and Care Ethics in the Global Economy
Great Hall A
Ethics of care literature has challenged us as policy-makers, practitioners, academics and researchers to think differently about what “good” care is as well as how responsibility and provision of care is distributed amidst rapidly retrenching “welfare” states (Barnes, 2012; Held, 2006; Tronto, 2013). As a moral orientation the ethics of care embraces caregiving and receiving as a, if not the, fundamental component of all human life providing meaning and purpose to our existence. As practice, ethics of care literature highlights agency, intention and responsiveness as necessary components of “good” care. This paper examines the intersection of both the moral and practical aspects of ethical care within child “welfare” systems backed by significant coercive powers of the state. I take the position that existing child “welfare” systems are strongly orientated towards “justice” rather than care and that this is deeply problematic for the well-being of all children, mothers and families impacted by intervention. While I do not question the necessity of having state systems in place to support and protect children and their families (in fact I encourage this), it questions how replacing the current individualistic, justice-oriented “best interests of the child” with a caring conceptualization of best-interests-of-the-child-in-the-context-of-complex-social-relationships may impact families experiencing such intervention (a disproportionate number from racialized and/or marginalized groups). Ultimately, I suggest that justice and care can coexist in these systems through a model of “humane justice” (Held, 2006, p.16) whereby the lived experiences of the families and children experiencing intervention provide the basis for action.
Women college students and college graduates are increasingly embracing nanny work as an occupation as a result of a labor market with limited possibilities for entry-level jobs. For college-educated women, nanny work is an informal sector, gateway job. These women typically hold aspirations outside of being a nanny and the nanny experience does not adequately prepare them for the formal labor market given that the nanny who negotiates with her employer for wage increases or time off, for example, is widely frowned upon. Since women have traditionally been socialized to care for and about others, when they go into caring work occupations, the ideology that they should perform their labor out of love and not for the money carries with them. 52 in-depth qualitative interviews with women who work as nannies and parents who employ a nanny show how nannies struggle with asserting themselves in seeking clarity in their job duties, salary, and employment terms and how the system reinforces an absence of negotiation on the part of the nanny. The paper identifies the ramifications of the gendered processes that employers and employees engage in that contribute to the instability of the job and limit women’s future employment. This paper calls for greater societal acceptance of nanny work as legitimate work. Valuing women’s work in this arena leads to greater employment opportunities for women and greater acceptance of the work women do. These shifts will also lead to better conditions for women who perform nanny work.
Research on the experiences of Latin American care workers in the US has focused importantly on the situations of domestic workers in private households. For example, Julia Wrigley’s Other People’s Children (1996), comprises interviews of childcare workers for affluent, highly educated parents who seek caregivers who share their values. Several of the Latin American caregivers she interviews describe conflicts over ideas about child rearing that arise between themselves and their employers. In a related vein, Cameron MacDonald (1998) has looked at “…how working mothers and their Latin American childcare providers, “…make sense of their shared ‘mother-work’ in the context of a dominant belief system that values ‘intensive mothering.’" Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo (1997) has explored issues around “transnational motherhood,” using the stories of Latina nannies and housekeepers in Los Angeles, whose own children are still in their home countries. The study examines how these women “…selectively develop emotional ties with their employers' children,” and develop “new rhetorics of mothering standards,” based on their experiences in their employers' homes. Moving further along these lines, Joan Tronto (2002) has discussed how “…when the wealthiest members of society use domestic servants to meet their child care needs, the result is unjust for individuals and for society as a whole” (p. 35).
This qualitative study is focused, rather, on the experiences of Latin American childcare workers in non-domestic settings. It explores, through semi-structured interview data, the situations of teachers in daycare and other early childhood educational settings. These women’s experiences can both sharply contrast with and coincide with the experiences of the workers described in the above-cited research. For example, the nannies and other domestic workers described in the above-cited research are often forced to implement childrearing values and practices of their employer, even though they, themselves, disagree with these. The Latin American childcare workers in non-domestic settings, described in the current study sometimes find themselves in similar situations, owing to highly authoritative administrations at the daycare or early childhood educational setting, who enforce rigid curricula and policies. Parents of children in center-based care can sometimes exercise similar power and authority over childcare workers’ practices, most notably in early childcare and educational settings for the affluent. However, situations likewise exist in which it is the childcare worker who is able to ultimately assert her power and authority when decisions about childrearing policy – for example, with reference to curriculum, discipline, issues of child autonomy - need to be made within the early educational and care setting.
Utilizing data from semi-structured interviews with graduates of a university-based, early childhood teacher education program in New York City, the proposed study will specifically describe the experiences of Latin American childcare workers in these various situations: those who having very little power over childrearing decisions; those who have a modicum of power and those who have ultimate authority in decisions over childrearing policies and practices. The study will additionally explore the significance of these situations for both childcare workers and the children whom they care for and educate.
Changing patterns in family structure, migration and female labour force participation have contributed to growing international interest in multigenerational care, particularly the role of grandparents. Research on the impact of such care arrangements have predominantly examined the wellbeing of grandparents or grandchildren in isolation, despite social work professionals emphasising the importance of a holistic approach to family wellbeing. In South Africa, there is an established literature specifically on the wellbeing of AIDS orphans cared for by grandparents but minimal evidence on the broader phenomenon of grandparental care or analyses encompassing the wellbeing of both grandparent and grandchildren. This paper presents a national level analysis of the circumstances under which the wellbeing of grandchildren and grandparents involved care arrangements thrives or suffers, drawing on data from wave 5 of the National Income Dynamics Survey (2017). Logistic regression modelling is employed to explore the association between children’s nutritional status and relationship to primary caregiver and older people’s self-reported health and emotional wellbeing and childcare responsibilities. Moderation analysis is then used to examine how child, parent, grandparent and household level factors influence the direction or strength of these associations. In total 21% of children (<15 years) are primarily cared for by a grandparent, whilst one in six older adults (60+ years) are the primary caregiver for a co-resident grandchild. Preliminary results reveal that children thrive in the care of grandmothers, but grandmothers who are primary caregivers for grandchildren report poorer health than other older women. In comparison, children primarily cared for by grandfathers have comparative wellbeing to those cared for by parents by other relatives, but these grandfathers report poorer emotional wellbeing. These findings highlight the importance of gender sensitive research and policy which does not overlook the role that grandfathers can play in the support of grandchildren.
6.5 Roundtable Session: Working Conditions of Domestic Workers
Great Hall B
The demand for domestic workers (specifically nannies, housekeepers, and personal care aides) has increased dramatically in recent decades. This predominantly female workforce provides a foundation which makes it possible for many American families to successfully combine employment and child rearing, maintain their homes, and care for aging relatives. Despite the importance of this work, it is typically associated with low wages and poor conditions for workers. Workers who live in their employers’ households (live-in workers) experience distinctive issues. A 2012 survey by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, focusing on domestic workers in 14 metropolitan areas, found that live-in employees have lower wages and poorer working conditions than those that live outside of an employer’s household (live-out workers).
This research will constitute the first use of nationally representative American Community Survey (ACS) data to examine differences in the demographics and work characteristics of live-in and live-out domestic employees. Beyond a descriptive analysis, regression modeling and chi-squared testing will be used to examine differences in incomes and usual hours worked for live-in and live-out workers, as well as which occupation (maids and housekeepers, childcare workers, or personal care aides) is most common for live-in workers. Data will be analyzed from two ACS 5-year samples (spanning 2007-2011 and 2012-2016) to allow for the examination of changes over time. This work will provide insight on the extent to which live-in employment differs from live-out employment for domestic workers in the United States.
This paper uses a mixed-methods approach to explore the increased use of domestic workers in the United States and the political economy around reforms to protect these workers from labor standards violations. Domestic workers are predominantly female with a high proportion of immigrants. Labor force survey data indicate that the number of home health aides has surpassed housekeepers and child care providers, and qualitative evidence points to multiple problems with wage and hour violations and poor working conditions. This study’s analysis of labor force survey data for the U.S. indicates that the number of home health aides has surpassed housekeepers and child care providers among domestic workers, and qualitative evidence points to multiple problems with wage and hour violations and poor working conditions. The growth in the number of health aides reflects the changing demographic composition of the U.S. population and the increasing need for people to care for the elderly and disabled. However, the low value assigned to care work and lack of labor law protections may prove to be a large obstacle to finding sufficient care workers in the future to meet this demand. Case study evidence for New Jersey from a representative household survey indicates that the majority of household employers are unfamiliar with legislation that governs the wages and hours of their domestic workers. More in-depth interviews suggest that wage theft is the main concern among advocates for low-wage workers, which could be addressed by a “domestic worker bill of rights” as passed in eight other states or by targeted wage theft legislation that includes increased employer liability in wage recovery lawsuits.
Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) remain as an invisible and underpaid workforce, whose challenges related to precarious migration status and precarious employment conditions remain below the radar of the public debate. One of the ways how Canada promotes temporary labour migration is through the Live-in Caregiver Program. Since 2007, there are approximately 202,992 temporary migrant work permit holders under the Live-in Caregiver Program. In this paper, I examine the precarious working experience, live-in caregivers. The primary objective of this paper is to understand further the complexities of contemporary precarization and how the interlocking systems of domination and oppression shape the experience of migrant caregivers. I carefully analyze three interviews of Filipino immigrants, who entered Canada through the Live-in Caregiver Program.
I argue that the live-in caregiver program is deeply rooted in the class, racial, and gendered inequalities that ultimately shape the precarious experience of migrant caregivers. As precarious non-citizens, live-in caregivers are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. The interview reveals that migrants under the Live-in Caregiver Program experience the following circumstances: violation of their contract and job description, lack of health and safety training, lack of access to settlement services, and frequent racial discrimination and abuse at the hands of their employers. Moreover, the program has negative impact on the physical, emotional, and psychological health status of live-in caregivers. Ultimately, the structures of the live-in caregiver highlight inequalities rooted in the intersection of class, race, gender, and legal status and how this matrix of domination manifests in economic and migration policies.
* This Keynote Address is sponsored by the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program/International Development Research Centre.
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