In between countries: Experiences of women migrant domestic workers from Georgia in Turkey

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Turkey

Approval Date: 2014




This study explores how globalization and restructuring of post-Soviet economies affect women's decision to migrate and their experiences as migrant domestic workers in Turkey. Apart from focusing on the experiences of migrant domestic workers, the study also attempts to make a survey of the factors, which cause employers in Turkey to employ especially domestic workers from Georgia. In order to expose the various aspects of the experiences of women in a non-hierarchical way, thus rendering them more intelligible, the study has drawn upon the feminist standpoint theory and questioned whether the commodification of domestic labor in the market has changed the gender roles. In other words, this study maps the relations between globalization, domestic labor and feminization of labor. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the transition to the market economy created serious economic problems in many post-Soviet countries, which faced with increasing unemployment, privatization and decreases in the quality of life. Being one of these countries, Georgia has also been deeply shaken, thus international migration has come forward as a way to overcome economic difficulties. Women are one of the prominent groups profoundly affected by the transition economy; therefore, they have an outstanding place in this migration wave. Turkey has become an important destination country for migrant women from Georgia since the mid-1990s due to the reasons such as the geographical proximity and the flexible visa regime between the two countries. In other respects, the identification of domestic labor with certain female gender roles makes it invisible and undervalued, which causes migrant women to concentrate on low-status and low-wage domestic services in the destination countries. The intersection of certain disadvantaged social positions of migrant women make them vulnerable to exploitation, oppression and abuse both in the houses they work and in the 'public' sphere they spend their day-offs.