Handbook on Migration and Social Policy
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Handbook on Migration and Social Policy

Edited by Gary P. Freeman and Nikola Mirilovic

In this detailed Handbook, an interdisciplinary team of scholars explores the consequences of migration for the social policies of rich welfare states. They test conflicting claims as to the positive and negative effects of different types of migration against the experience of countries in Europe, North America, Australasia, the Middle East and South Asia. The chapters assess arguments as to migration’s impact on the financial, social and political stability of social programs. The volume includes comprehensive reviews of existing scholarship as well as state of the art original empirical analysis.
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Chapter 22: Gender, migration and social policy

Diane Sainsbury


Efforts to incorporate gender into the analysis of migration got under way in the mid-1980s as researchers began to highlight the experiences of women migrants and women in migration (IMR 1984; Morokvasic 1984). Over time, focus shifted to put more emphasis on gender relations (Willis and Yeoh 2000; Hondagneu-Sotelo 2003; IMR 2006; Piper 2008). Much of the research on gender and migration has examined how gender relations and the gendered division of labor have influenced patterns of migration and how migration has affected gender relations. The growing literature on gender and migration has devoted relatively little attention to social policy and gender differences in immigrants’ social entitlements. This lack of attention in part has stemmed from the absence of systematic analysis of immigrants’ social rights, both their formal social rights (legal access to social benefits and services) and their substantive social rights (participation in social programs), in the mainstream scholarship until recently. Instead, academic interest has been preoccupied with immigration as a challenge or a threat to the welfare state, and this preoccupation has militated against a consideration of welfare states and immigrants’ social rights. However, a very exciting and fruitful approach in gendering migration has eventually brought social policies into the analysis through the back door. The approach has focused on the international division of social reproductive labor and immigrant care or domestic workers (e.g. Hondagneu-Sotelo 2000; Parre-as 2001; Zimmerman et al. 2006; Lutz 2011; Oso and Ribas-Mateos 2013).

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