Immigrant domestic women workers in Ankara and Istanbul

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2005

Thesis Language: English

Student: Nihal Çelik



This study focuses on the relationship between global economy and women̕s labor within a feminist standpoint by examining the personal and occupational experiences of immigrant women doing domestic work in Turkey. The main concern of this study is to investigate how working and living experiences of immigrant domestic women workers in Turkey are shaped by their illegal worker and immigrant status. The aim of this study is to listen to the personal experiences of immigrant domestic women workers from themselves, and understand their working conditions and social life experiences in Turkey. There emerged a trend in trading domestic workers between the poor and rich countries since 1990s where many parties, including governments, illegal recruitment agencies, and individual employers benefited. The high unemployment, poverty, shortfalls in living standards, and loss of government-sponsored public services due to the IMF policies implemented by the governments of developing countries severely affected poor and women. For their family survival, women of developing countries forced to migrate in order to seek domestic work in richer countries, where there is a high demand of middle class women for domestic workers. On the other hand, since domestic work is devalued as informal work, policy-makers do not pay sufficient attention, and provide a legal framework regulating the recruitment process and protecting the rights of immigrant domestic women workers. Therefore, immigrant domestic women workers are in a vulnerable position and open to exploitation due to their illegal and immigrant status. Turkey has been one of the domestic worker exporting countries since early 1990s mostly from post-Soviet countries. However, she neither has bilateral agreements with the sending countries nor a legal framework protecting the rights of immigrant domestic women workers. Hence, immigrant