Wife or Worker?

Asian Women and Migration

Edited by Nicola Piper, Mina Roces

Publication date:

21 April 2003

Length of book:

232 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780742523777

This volume challenges the dominant discourse that perceives Asian women as either "mail-order" brides or overseas workers. Providing the first sustained critique of the artificial analytical division between brides and workers, the book demonstrates women's transition from brides to workers and from workers to brides. Focusing on how women workers use marriage as a strategy to gain citizenship and how migrants for marriage become workers, the authors present these modern Asian women in their multidimensional roles as wives, workers, mothers, and citizens.

The case studies explore a wide gamut of experiences, including Filipino caregivers in Canada, Thai sex workers in Germany, Filipino brides in Australia, Singaporean expatriates in Shanghai, Taiwanese families split between Taiwan and California, Asian migrants for marriage in Japan, and Filipino domestic helpers in Spain and Italy. All of these show the multiplicity of roles women maintain and emphasize the point that marriage, work, and migration are inextricably linked.

Contributions by: Maria W. L. Chee, Michelle Lee, Deirdre McKay, Pat Mix, Tomoko Nakamatsu, Rogelia Pe-Pua, Nicola Piper, Mina Roces, Katie Willis, and Brenda Yeoh.
Wife or Worker? is a fascinating collection of case studies drawn from a diverse range of disciplines. The text not only challenges feminist thinking about Asian women's migration patterns, but also raises important topics for further scholarly research.