Equal status and rights

Anonymous student post

Every person in a society has the right to be treated equally, to vote or to work, whatever their sex, religion, or race. I think that denizenship is a fundamental human right. However, if you are migrant or refugee, you may not be allowed those rights. They do not find secure job, citizenship or security at home. This is the strange condition. Every people should be granted those fundamental rights.

A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their home country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster. It is involved in many factors such as social, political or religious. They want a stable or safe life. However, there is a critical reality. I think that they have rights that they live ordinary life as we live. Besides, a migrant is a person who moves from one place to another place in order to find work or make money. They are also said the same thing. Recently, it seems that globalization is advancing in the world. Many companies start to expand overseas. So the mobility of economy is more active. Then a stream of people between nations is also active. I think that the number of refugees and immigrants increases because of globalization.

I think that many people want to belong to elsewhere. As Anne Allison writes, “Everyone needs a place, identity, affiliation. We need an ‘ibasho’ that finds us necessary.” Ibasho is a place where people feel relaxed or comfortable, such as home, school or office. Then equal status or right may lead to those feelings. I do not know that whether it is good or bad. It depends on their thoughts. Then it is difficult to achieve equal status or right.

In Japan, there is a word of ‘kakusa shakai’. It means the present economic structure with severe disparity. There is the difference of salary between regular and contract or irregular worker. Foreign or immigrant workers are also influenced. Many people belong to social organization or company and work there. Some people build private business management. I do not know where belong to elsewhere or work in the future. Then I hope that it is to achieve the equal status or right. In addition, immigrant or refugee live a stable life. There are many issues to achieve. The government or international organization or agency establish some policies about immigrants and refugees or provide some assistance.

Reference

Allison, Anne. 2013. Precarious Japan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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Banning Sex-Work Backfires

Hostess club sign, Roppongi

Hostess club sign, Roppongi (Photo credit: Susanna Quinn – Book Group Author)

Anonymous student post

In 2004 a newly required Trafficking in Persons Report was released by the U.S. Department of State. The report stated that Filipinas working as hostesses in Japanese clubs constituted the largest group of sex-trafficked persons, making up more than 10 percent of the total worldwide. In response to the deeply embarrassing report, the Japanese government decided to take quick action. New visa requirements and a more rigorous screening process were hurriedly enacted for those seeking the “entertainment visa,” which is how most sex-workers would classify themselves.

The result looked great on paper. The number of Filipina hostesses in Japan dropped 90%, from 82,741 in 2004 to 8,607 in 2006. But in reality sex-workers were still being trafficked into Japan, worse yet they now were rendered “illegal”. The sex workers coming into Japan were coming on their own volition for the most part. But now, they find themselves at the mercy of their employers without any laws to protect them. Since they are no longer legally in Japan, they have little ground to defend themselves from abusive or even dangerous employers. Even though Japan has improved itself in the eyes of the Trafficking in Persons Report, the short-sighted tactic they chose backfired making the matter worse for trafficked workers.

Since required workers are required to prove 2 years of training or internship as performing visual artists, Filipinas have resorted to coming in through illegal means. The new sex-workers are tightly coupled to their employers due to their illegal nature. The problem being they still needed jobs, and there was still a lucrative market to fill. No matter what laws the Japanese government imposes, there will always be loopholes that the illegal market finds around them, and in this case it was at the expense of the victims themselves.

It is no surprise that Japan was at the top of the list of Trafficking in Persons report. As long as the market in Japan for sex-workers exists, the problem with migrant sex-workers will coexist. The market for sex-work in Japan is disproportionately large for a country among the 5 highest in GDP.  If paying for sexual services had the taboo reputation it does in other world powers, the demand for sex-work in Japan wouldn’t be large enough to cause embarrassment. If the Japanese government could convince citizens that paying for sexual services is unpopular, they could do a much more effective job at mitigating the issue, and better yet, it wouldn’t be at the expense of the migrant sex-worker victims themselves. Additionally, new markets for the migrant workers would appear.

Criminalizing migrant sex workers does not aim for the core of the issue. Rather, a reduction of the market for sex-workers needs to take place in order to mitigate the demand. The sexual objectification of women is rampant among males in Japan. Gender inequality in Japan is partly to blame for the sexual objectification of women. The popularity of hostess bars and other payed-for sex work is deeply entrenched in masculine Japanese culture today.  If women were seen equally, the Japanese would begin to see what’s taboo, or even wrong with sex work. Societies view of women leaves migrant workers with little choice outside the uncomfortable opportunity for sex work. The government needs to work from the ground up with education of Japanese youth. The distinct, unbalanced roles of men and women need to be flattened out for society to understand the detriments of objectification of sex.

References

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-13/what-i-learned-about-migrant-sex-workers-by-being-one-part-1-parrenas.html

Illicit Flirtation: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo, by Rhacel Salazar Parreñas. 2011. Stanford University Press.

Migrant women in the third world and gender ideology

be Jeawon Moon

Imagine you are a career woman who has a family in a first world country. If you struggle to persist with working and housework together, it is really easy to find a cheap maid or nanny service with a click of the mouse. There are a lot of maids and nannies in the first world who are migrant women from the third world.

The growing crisis of care in the first country has increased demand for caring service especially caused by women’s advancement in the society. The migrant women workers are an invisible power to sustain the economic participation of women and global cities in the first world.

Above this, there are two more factors influencing the significant increase of the migrant women workers. The third world has faced serious polarization of wealth and devastated economies due to global capitalism. The migrant women workers are considered as the way to revive the economy at the national level. Lastly, they decide to migrate to gain better economic opportunities for themselves and their family.

Let’s think about the gender ideology involved with this trend of migration. Does the trend have a positive influence on developing gender egalitarian views on society? At first, the answer looks like yes. Even though it is hard to ignore the structural factors forcing third world women to migrate, it is also an important fact that they decide to migrate autonomously, unlike previously when many migration women were tied movers.

Also, the migration of women workers challenges traditional gender portrayals that woman takes care of housework and child caring and man is the breadwinner. They decide to migrate for their poor family and become the main breadwinner. They have even played an important role in national economy. In other words, it seems that society is moving towards gender equality.

However, there are some doubts that the migration challenges traditional gender roles. It may actually solidify them. In truth, much of the work for the migrant women is limited to reproductive labor, which refers to caring work to sustain households. Typically, reproductive labor has been considered a woman’s duty and identity. They fill the blank of traditional roles in the houses of the first world since women of the first world do not want to take the roles because of their work.

Also, because women leave their families to go to the first world, there will be the blank of caring in their families, which will be filled with another woman of the third world who is too poor to migrate to other countries or by female relatives. In this global care chain, there is an almost complete lack of man’s role to care for a family after the woman has migrated.

Especially in the Philippines, the government and media condemn migrant mothers with concerns that they are causing a family break-up. Although the economy has been sustained by remittances from migrant workers, they shift the responsibility of family crisis only to migrant mothers and insist that return is the only solution.

The trend of migration illustrates that both career women of the first world and migrant women workers of the third world have an unfair social status compared to that of men. Even though more and more women are entering the workforce in the first world, they are still considered as the main player of housework. So, they would like to hire migrant women workers to do caring work instead of them. In the third world, migrant women workers’ absence is filled with other women. This contradictory, unfair gender ideology dominates current global society.

A Silent Justification of Poverty?

Cover of "Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, a...

Cover via Amazon

Anonymous student post

The fact that there is a global transfer going on in the realm of women’s work (mostly child work and housework) in affluent countries, where migrant woman from third world countries are being utilized as emotional (for child care) resources replacing the mother’s work in the house as nannies, caretakers surprised and disturbed me at the same time.

The cause of this transfer trend is that in western countries, not only are men independent and serve as breadwinners of their family, but woman have joined this equation and as a result, have become to taken by their work, leaving them no time to do housework as well as providing emotional care for their children (child care).

In a crude fasion, Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild explain in Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy that this demand gap in affluent countries (described as a “care deficit”) pulls Third World migrants, in other words, poverty stricken situations pushes the migrants to enter and fix the care deficit.

Though this can be glorified by affluent countries that they are providing opportunities for the poor, this cycle works well if the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. As global inequality progresses, the more immigrant workforces are imported to affluent countries.

Another crude factor that makes this possible is the dual emotional and psychological burden the workers go through. This is caused by the physical separation between her and the girl or child she is taking care of, and the inability to physically and emotionally connect with the worker’s real child.

Sustaining a healthy emotional connection is another burden altogether. Whether migrant workers can sustain an emotional connection with their children back home depends on how the children or other family members perceive them. This changes depending on how the parent communicates her situation to the child. The more the parent seems to be struggling for the family, the more emotionally close the child would feel.

On the contrary, the more they seem to be struggling for themselves, seem selfish in their reason to migrate in the first place, the child is more likely to feel emotionally detached. It seems as if affluent countries of the west are silently contributing and justifying global inequality at the cost of dual psycological stress the migrant workers go through.