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Gender and migration, globalisation of domestic work: the Moldovian case in Turkey

Final Activity Report Summary - GLODOMWORK (Gender and migration, globalisation of domestic work: the Moldovian case in Turkey)

This project was designed to understand and analyse the impact of globalisation of migration in the Turkish context by focusing on the case of Moldovan domestic workers. Theoretical and conceptual framework of the project was drawn by reviewing the literature on irregular migration, feminisation of migration and globalisation of labour. The migration flows from Moldova to Turkey were analysed by looking at the interaction among migration, gender and welfare regime of Turkey and Moldova.

The research was designed from a sociological perspective and investigated the social, cultural, legal and institutional dimensions of migratory movements of Moldovan domestic workers.

In order to reach the aim of the project, primary and secondary data were collected. The fieldwork was conducted in Istanbul/Turkey and Gaguzia/Moldova. In the fieldwork, information about migration and work experiences and coping mechanisms of Moldovan domestics was collected. The migration movement of Moldovans to Turkey has started in the mid-1990s. Primary and secondary data show that this movement is highly likely to continue in the future, until the Republic of Moldova overcomes the severe the difficulties it has been confronting.

Migration from Moldova is highly gendered. The majority of Moldovans in Turkey are women and they are employed in domestic work, mainly in care work. Similar to the Southern European countries welfare regime, in Turkey it is mainly family which provides the care services. The changing demographics and family structure in Turkey explains the demand for domestic workers in care work. Since there is a socially accepted preference for care work at home, and since Moldovan domestics prefer to work on live-in basis, the demand for paid domestic work is met mainly by foreigners not by local women, particularly in big cities.

This migratory movement is voluntary, circular, irregular and depends on networks. Migration is a strategy for them to cope with the economic difficulties; therefore they develop their own coping mechanisms against their undocumented migrant and undocumented worker status in Turkey. In this regard their communal and transnational networks play an important role.

This project discusses the peculiarity and commonality of Turkish case in the general trends of globalisation of domestic work. The data of this research shows that Turkish case has similarities with Southern European countries although there are some differences.