Gender, Migration, & The Work of Care

Research Findings

“If I could choose freely, I would definitely prefer factory work.”

Haiyin, Homecare Worker


years old.


days worked per year.


years working in homecare.


per hour.


per month.

Haiyin* emigrated from China to California to the United States in 2003. She has a high school level education. The 60-year-old married mother first left her province of Guangdong so her child could go to school in the USA.

In China, Haiyin worked in an office. In the USA, she has worked caring for children, and in a photo album-making factory that went bankrupt. She now works for three home care clients in San Francisco, California. She cooks, cleans, attends medical visits, and helps clients with bathroom needs.

Haiyin started in homecare because she couldn’t get a job elsewhere.

She views homecare work as stressful. Her previous two clients passed away, leaving her unemployed for a period. Some clients treat her poorly. She dislikes working 365 days a year, but fears taking time off as she worries employers will prefer the replacement worker, and fire her as a result.

Haiyin believes her union helps her win better wages and benefits, but she says it can’t help with worker-client disputes because the union has no authority to negotiate with clients.

*Name is a pseudonym. With thanks to the interviewee. Profile is based on a 2014 interview for Cynthia Cranford‘s “Gender, Migration and the Work of Care” sub-project “Immigrant Labour Markets for Personal Care Work.” Photo used in banner is also a stand-in.