Paid Reproductive Work and the Economic Recession: Evidence from EU15 States


Paid reproductive work, especially in the case of cleaning and home-care for elderly people, is an important sector for foreign women in EU15. For this reason, since the beginning of the current economic crisis, scholars have wondered about the impact of the recession on migrant domestic workers. They have looked particularly at possible competition with native women entering the sector for lack of better alternatives. Our paper takes this discussion a step further by assessing the overall changes affecting migrant women in the labour market of EU15 Member States, 2007-2016. We will look at how their position has been transformed, by taking both an ethnic perspective, in relation to native women, and a gender perspective, in relation to migrant men. To this aim, intersectional techniques are applied. By way of a conclusion, the argument will be made that there is a substantial lack of competition between native and foreign women in the care and domestic sector due to differences in their earnings, hours of work and activities. However, several differences are found between countries.