The Labour Market for Immigrant Women in Sweden: Marginalised Women in Low-valued Jobs
Immigrants are not just immigrants — they are also women and men. Why do I find it necessary to begin with this apparently self-evident statement? Quite simply because this trivial fact is, remarkably enough, often overlooked. Both in the public debate and in everyday discourse this fundamental and obvious fact is hidden by the gender-neutral and socially equalising term ‘immigrant’. In many respects both men and women are, of course, affected by the structural subordination and powerlessness that is part of being an immigrant. But in ignoring the obvious truth that immigrants come in two sexes, one also disregards the fact that, like Swedish men and women, they are being located in the gendered social system. Women encounter the difficulties that are part of their status as immigrants, while at the same time being confronted with the social subordination of women and the gender segregation in the labour market. Or, as expressed by Annie Phizacklea: ‘Migrant women are thus placed at the intersection of two processes, gender and racial subordination …’ (Phizacklea 1983: 6–7) or, as in the Swedish context, subordination on ethnic grounds, for being ‘foreigners’ and ‘the others’. With some remarkable exceptions produced by female scholars, such as, for example, Phizacklea’s anthology One Way Ticket (1983), women in migration were for decades, by and large, ignored in international and, definitely in Swedish studies.
KeywordsLabour Market Labour Force Participation Disability Pension Labour Force Participation Rate Swedish Woman
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