chapter  10
14 Pages

The Tension between Ethnicity and Work Immigrant Women in The Netherlands

WithHelma Lutz

This article tries to unravel the ‘enlightened’ policies of assimilation through the labour market adopted by the Dutch government. The analysis focuses on the meaning of ethnicity for immigrant women in the Netherlands and its implications for their chances on the labour market. It is argued that the measures taken effectively assimilate immigrant women, marginalizing the majority of them in third-class workers’ status in the informal sector. When some of the inappropriate policies created to facilitate the employment of immigrant women are explored it can be seen that it is because they lack a clear understanding of the demands and positions of women that such policies have proved completely ineffective. Furthermore in the Netherlands, as in much of Europe, minority policies on the labour market must be interpreted in the context of the dismantling of the welfare state. The article concludes that the new Europe of ‘open borders’ creates more ‘closed doors’ for immigrant women rather than an elevation of opportunities.