Professionals, as wellasskilledworkers,arewhat overseas employers are looking for.
These people are capable of helping them in everypossible way. Skilled workers are people who, for example, have experience inwelding, food technology and such things, while professional workers are peoplewith college degrees. Skilled and professional workers are alike in some wayslike educational background. However, unskilled workers are different because theyare the ones who do the domestic work (nannies, yaya, kasambahay). Despite these typical jobs, they are important toemployers abroad because of the vital role they play. The unskilled workers’jobs,particularly the domestic work,face great issues pertainingtowhy it is feminized and why thePhilippinesbecame notorious forbeing the”supplier”oftheseworkers. The 1970s was a significant decade1for the Philippines becauseit was when Filipinosstarted flocking to different countries to work.Thefirst batch to leave the country for overseas work consisted of men because the Middle East needed people to work on their oil rigs andconstruction sites.
“Katas ng Saudi” becamea popular phrase around thattime. Feminization of migrant workers started in the 1980s2,the time when tutors where in-demand and Filipinos immediately took the slots. This feminization went from the popularity of tutors todomestic workers,and people who had academic degreeschose to work as baby-sitters and domestic helpers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and in Western countries. However,this feminization of domestic work, and the fact that these workers are alwayscoming from in the Philippines,have effects and reasons. Filipino domestic workers have different viewpoints on why they choose to work abroad, may it be because oftheeconomic status of the country, theirageor theirfamily strategy.The Philippines became the “supplier” of female domestic workers becauseof the economic problem the state has. “Having a corrupt government, mismanagement of thecountry’s assets, and gross inefficiency stops the country from developing.
“3There have been many articles, evidences and supporting details that the Philippine government is corrupt and haveofficials that are mismanaging the country’s funds, making the Filipinosmisfortunate for job opportunities. Because of the corrupt government, it wasnoted that in 2016, accordingto theresult of the Survey on Overseas Filipinos(SOF)4, an estimated 2.2 million Filipinos are working abroad, which is significantly higherthanthe 1970sresults of 36,000Filipinos. Thestatistical data showed that 53.6 percent of OFWs were female. Having thisstatistical data, it shows how deprived of opportunities women are in thePhilippines.
This led to the Filipinos leaving the country for better chances of landing work. In addition to this, the 1970s immigration wave was initiated by FerdinandMarcos to serve as a “stop gap” measure to give Filipinos jobs and for the Philippines to earn more dollars.5The era started because the government saw the deployment of Filipinos to othercountries as a solution to stop theexpandingunemployment rate of the country. Also, since the government’s mismanagement ofthe funds, the payments of Filipinos are reportedly low especially the “women’sjobs”(nurses, teachers, etc.)6.A registered nurse is paid only Php 15,000 a month, excluding taxes andother additional decreasesin their salary, while a teacher is paid Php 18,000. Although there arebenefits for public nurses and teachers, it’s still not enough to sustain afamily in the Philippines, unlike a domestic helper’s salary of USD 1,500 permonth or 66,000 in Philippinepesos. So, there is a huge difference between a professional “women’s job” worker in the Philippines and a domestic helper abroad.
Economicstatusis really a huge factor as to why Filipinas choose to work abroad as domestic helpers. Ageis also oneof the factors causingFilipinas to goabroad to work as domestic helpers. There is a big difference between men and women in termsof age. At a young age, women are expected to master all the household chores(especially the eldest daughter) while men are free to do anything they want.7Withthis stereotype, women are expected to mature at such a young age while mentend to play around for as long as they want.
The age of women is one factor contributing to why the face ofdomestic work is female. Statisticaldata from the SOF showed that most25-39-year-oldoverseas workersare women.Figure 1 OFWDistribution by Age and SexAdditionally, half of therespondents from the survey were domestic helpers. Age shows that women aremore mature than men,so they are trusted to work abroad for their families. Furthermore, the age alsodetermines the women’s adaptability and flexibility to work under pressure andto work abroad because of how well their minds are opened in the sense of”taking care” of the family.
Even if men are the foundation of the family,women are still expected to provide because of the stereotype stating that they still need toperform the caring duties and responsibilities. In a family, there is always someonewho will be “required” to work abroad.8A family strategy is how family members solve a problem together. In the caseof domestic workers, family strategiescontributed to whythe field of workwas Philippinized. Every family maycometo apoint of having financial problems and when this happens, one of Filipinos’ solutions are going overseas towork as a DH (Domestic Helper).And sincethe salary of a DH permonth is Php 66,000, itis assumed theeasiest way to overcome the problem.
Because of this, a family member is expected to work overseas andit has mostlybeen women who are trusted to work abroad. It is because of the fact that womenare amenable.9Women are willing to do thisworkbecause they cooperate with what the family wants. It is also because of the Filipino culture ofhaving the mantra of “family comes first.” Familial characteristics affect thethinking of a woman, especially if she has children, because she will alwaysthink of the needs of her family regardless of the outcome once she is alreadyin another country. In addition, children are affected and there is alsostereotyping in this section. Children of migrant fathers are more likely tosay that their father left the Philippines to provide for the family, whereaschildren of migrant mothers more commonly claim that their mothers left toescape poverty.
10So, migrant mothers are not just prone to physical, mental, and sexual abuse, but also toemotional pain of the possibility that their children will hate them becausethey left them for a job abroad with high salary, not knowing that mothers did it for their sake. Domestic workers play a vital rolefor their employers abroad. That vital role is being a second parent for theirchild, or particularly, a mother, making women the right person for the job.However, not everyone is happy withbeinga domestic worker because mothers who have taken the job neglect their ownfamily for a big salary. Furthermore, domestic workersbecame feminized because of their big heart for the family. Females tend toalways put their family first before themselves, which is why they doeverything to help the family.Despite thefact that womenunconsciously chose to be the face of domestic work, they are considered to bethe new heroes of today because they chose to leave for the betterment of the life of their family.1 Santos,Ana P.
“Philippines: A History ofMigration” July 06, 2010 2Rosales, L.A.,P “The Feminization of ourMigrant Workers” Vol. 13 Solidarity Philippines Australia Network 3 Natividad, F.
“11Reasons Why Filipinos Want to Work Abroad” Nov. 19, 20124 Bersales, L.G.,S.
“Total Number of OFWs Estimatedat 2.2 Million (Results from the 2016 Survey on Overseas Filipinos)” Philippine Statistics Authority April 20175 http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/content/73403/overseas-migration-has-taken-the-face-of-a-woman/story/20076 https://www.payscale.com/research/PH/Job=Registered_Nurse_(RN)/Salary/08faaf74/Manila7 Parreñas, R.S.
(2006)” Children of Global Migration: Transnational Families and Gendered Woes”8 Lauby,J., & Stark, O. (1988).
Individualmigration as a family strategy: Young women in the Philippines. 9 Lauby,J., & Stark, O. (1988). Individualmigration as a family strategy: Young women in the Philippines.
10Parreñas, Rhacel Salazar (2006). Childrenof Global Migration: Transnational Families and Gendered Woes