Gender, Migration, & The Work of Care

Project Profiles Research Findings

International Organizations

Migrant caregivers’ needs arise not only as a result of their employment in low-paid, low-prestige, poorly regulated or unregulated care work.

Project Leads


  • Nicola Piper

  • Eileen Boris


  • The Migration Policy Institute
  • United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
  • The International labour Organization (ILO)

Students & Associates

There are several practical, financial and psychological problems that can be experienced by care workers in leaving their home country and family behind to find work. All of these problems can be compounded by their undocumented immigrant status.

The fact remains that neither home countries nor host countries can adequately address the complex needs of these migrant workers, whose origins cross national borders.

For these reasons, international organizations such as the ILO (International Labor Organization), the United Nations (UN), the World Bank, and the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) could potentially play a role most important. They can provide notification mechanisms, human rights standards, and regulatory frameworks.

This project focuses on the role of international organizations in the provision of care by migrants. How do these organizations view the provision of care by migrants, and how have they worked in cooperation or competition to “manage” migrant caregivers? How effective are their interventions and standards?

In this project, Rianne Mahon studies international governance from the top down. She is interested in the stories and content of speeches and policies of international organizations concerning migrant caregivers. She does document analysis and interviews key informants. Jennifer Fish oversees and analyzes the dialect relationship between migrant workers and international human rights and policy organizations. Her ethnographic work with the International Domestic Workers Federation chronicles the formation of the first set of global policy protections for domestic workers, and the multiple expressions of implementation across five continents.