Migration and female labor markets in the context of globalization: Latinoamerican female workers in domestic service in Madrid and New York

Marina E. Ariza, Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales (UNAM)

Based upon the realization of more than 50 in depth interviews through the years of 2006 and 2007 in the cities of Madrid and New York, the paper carries out a comparative analysis of the economic insertion of two Latinoamerican immigrants groups (Dominicans in Madrid and Mexicans in New York) in the domestic service . The increasing demand for female immigrants workers in the personal services of the advanced economies in the past few decades, is seen as a combined product of the economic profound changes that have taken place in urban labor markets in the context of globalization, the dismantling of the welfare state, and some demographic trends such as the aging of the population of those countries, among other transformations (increased female labor force participation, lower fertility rates, etc.). Stating that both cities (Madrid and New York) represent the two more important points of immigration in a global perspective (Western Europe and the United States), the paper examines the differences that such contexts of reception (Portes, 1989) entail in terms of their migratory policies, their labor regulations and the degree of public intervention in the labor market, aiming always at evaluating their differential outcome for the women employed in domestic service. The detailed examination of the labor conditions and trajectories of all the women interviewed indicates that due to the ambiguity of its migratory policy (criminalization of migrants versus periods of regularization), the major illegal (undocumented) situation of the Mexican immigrant population, the lesser chances of social integration in a short or medium term, and the least state intervention in the market, the city of New York represents a more vulnerable environment for the Mexican female workers than Madrid, although both groups of immigrants are working in the same occupation.

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Presented in Session 44: Women and Economic Migration