ABSTRACT

Care is a universal need, and the way care is organized is decisive for gender relations, equality, and collective well-being. Care work has traditionally been characterized by enormous asymmetries between women and men, rich and poor families and communities. Feminist political struggles have aimed to change the gendered division of labour and revalue care work (as shown in Chapter 8 for the Dutch state). In recent years the social organization of care has radically changed as poor women have migrated to care for children in richer countries, leaving their own children behind to be cared for by others. Feminist struggles around care have been forced to evolve as care work has become increasingly global. They must face what has been labelled the global care chain (UNFPA 2006, Yeates 2004 and 2008). Women in richer countries are part of the chain as they are unable to change the balance between care needs and paid work in their households. They often rely on poor migrant women to provide the needed labour at an affordable price in the absence of state provisions. Such a shift has led to a rethinking of care by feminists. It is no longer a domestic national issue but rather a transnational phenomenon. This chapter looks at the ways feminist social movements have begun to organize around transnational care economies and how in the process these organizations themselves have been changed.