Gender, Migration, & The Work of Care


What did you do last Summer, Symon James-Wilson?

With eight major projects across four continents, the CGSP initiative supports innovative multi-disciplinary/multi-sited collaboration that is truly unlike many other projects of its caliber and size. As a junior project assistant researching the implications of education systems and recruitment practices for Filipina and Indonesian domestic workers’ migration trajectories, the opportunity to meet with scholars at the forefront of reframing and reconstructing traditional political, social, and economic notions of care in the Asia-Pacific region was an exciting part of my field work this summer. Building on the idea that complexities of care work can only be understood through a variety of conceptual frameworks, geographies, scales of analysis, and stakeholders, learning more about the “Demography and Policy in Oceania” (Dr. Deborah Brennan and Dr. Elizabeth Hill) and the “International Governance” (Dr. Nicola Piper) projects fostered creative considerations surrounding sending/receiving country dynamics critical connectivity (rather than historically understood exclusivity).

Having witnessed Australia’s particular push to align itself with the dynamic economic growth and development in the Asia-Pacific region while on a U of T sponsored exchange at the University of Melbourne, coming together to discuss and critique the so-called “need” or “demand” for female migrant workers (particularly in the elder and child care sectors) charted interesting new questions within my specific project and more broadly. In fact, these ideas converged once again at a three-day global conference on labour migration hosted by the AFL-CIO Solidarity Centre in Bogor, Indonesia where Dr. Piper and I were among more than 200 participants from 45 countries in NGO, academic, funding agencies and governmental sectors imagining more equitable labour migration systems capable of fostering shared prosperity.

Now returned to Canada, I look forward to continuing the conversation with such a rich team of scholars, researchers, social/political advocates, and employed care workers themselves as an assistant contribution to the CGSP project. Bridging spatial and disciplinary divides through global conferences, in-house writing-workshops, and visits to each other’s home institutions, I am excited to see what deeper inquires, communications, and collaborations across the various levels of partnerships develop next!

Symon James-Wilson