Filipino Migrant Woman

Last Updated: 28 Jul 2020
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Migration When the Light of Home is Abroad: Unskilled Female Migration and the Filipino Family * The article focuses on the Filipino female population migrating to Singapore and the difficulties they face while in their host country. Through interviews and extensive research the authors explore the relationships between Filipino migrant women and their families.

The authors state, “Specifically, we explore how migrant women and their family members define and negotiate family ideals, gender identities and family relationships, given the family’s transnational configuration. In other words, with women – regarded as the “light of the home” (ilaw ng tahanan) – away from the family, how is family constituted and family life crafted by its constituent members both at home and abroad? ” (Asis, Huang, Yeoh 199). * The idea of transnational family, having a bond while living in a host country, is interrelated with labour migrants.

The authors defines transnational family as, “one where core members are distributed in two or more nation states but continue to share strong bonds of collective welfare and unity – is a strategic response to the changing social, economic and political conditions of a globalizing world” (Asis, Huang, Yeoh 199). * Female migrants are constantly negotiating their identity and their role in their host countries which leads them to maintain ties through engaging actively or disengaging themselves from their families. Long distance calls from the migrant to the families is an example of active pursuit.

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The authors describe this constant negotiation of a migrant’s identity as “relativising” (Asis, Huang, Yeoh 200). The concept of “relativising” could also be formed through cultural differences from host countries. * Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka are three countries in Southeast Asia which encompass the largest amount of female migration. The authors states, “The Philippines is one of three countries in Asia where women migrants comprise between 60 and 80 percent of legal migrants deployed to other countries every year” (Asis, Huang, Yeoh 203).

Filipino women migrants increased due to a shift in labour needs during the 1980s. * The author’s research provides interviews with female migrants and their families in Singapore and Philippines. The interview raises awareness of female migrant’s loss of connectivity with family members, especially children. Many children felt the absence of their mother shaped their family relationship in a negative context. In one example, two male children dropped out of school and upon their mother’s arrival the children returned back to school.

In this case the mother is seen as the enforcer which entails drives the children to attend school. The lack of face to face interaction between the female migrant and her family causes negative consequences to the migrant herself as well as her family. * The article also discusses the positive outcomes for female migrants while in their host country. Many of the migrants felt empowered by being able to provide a better life for their family. Many of the women provide remittances which in turn allowed for rebuilding of homes, school expenses, and food.

Another positive outcome for female migrants was the respect they embraced from their husbands upon returning to their country of origin. Questions * How does the reconfiguration gender role affect female labour migrants while in their host country? * Filipino female migration alters the “family relationship” and in doing so constructs a gap between the mothers and children. Is the economical factor worth the risk of losing the bond between the migrant’s children and the migrant hence affecting education for the children? * Can labour migrants maintain a sense of family and does the term “family” alter when absent from the country of origin?

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Filipino Migrant Woman. (2017, Jan 04). Retrieved from

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