In this section, you can find the main publications of the FWC based on its research works.
Me, Us and Them: realities and illusions of Filipina domestic workers
The idea of the research project originated from the community leaders of FWC as part of their desire to respond to the many urgent needs of Filipino women domestic workers in Rome.
The experiences of FWC for the past years in counseling and advocacy work made them realize that these women are faced with many complex social problems that lead to much sufferings. It was urgent for FWC, in its concern with the social and psychological effects of migration on the women domestic helpers in Italy and on the family left behind in the Philippines, to address the cultural, social and economic adjustment of Filipina migrant domestic workers.
This research project is an historic activity in the field of migration research on the Filipino migrant community, as well as in the field of advocacy for policy changes regarding migration. It documents and analyzes the hidden issues that have an impact on the conditions of Filipino women domestic workers.
Gender, remittances and development: the case of Filipino migrants in Italy
This publication presents a summary of the main findings of the 2007 case study of Filipino migration to Italy, carried out by the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) with the active participation of Filipino Women’s Council (FWC).
The findings of the project reveal
- That gender influences migration and remittances and how they affect local rural development;
- That investments of remittances are mostly for purchase of properties such as house and residential lots, education of family members and very few are invested for productive purposes;
- That it is important to do further studies that will look at possible methods in capitalizing on relationships between migration, remittances and development with a gender sensitive approach.
- The most important lesson was the enhancement of the capacity of the organization to perform such highly qualified research tasks; then
- Learning more about the issues of migration and development with a gender perspective; improved networking not only with UN agencies, but most especially improved relationship with Filipino migrant associations, the family beneficiaries and institutions who were all contacted in the study; and
- Last but not the least, negotiation skills have also been applied with UN partners and with Filipino Migrant Associations to allow FWC to go through and interview the family beneficiaries in the Philippines, which was quite a new experience.
Key factors of success or innovation
- First, this study touches specifically upon women and gender dimensions of migration and development discourses that are oftentimes neglected in many studies on the issue;
- The participation of the FWC in the development of methodology with the main researcher, and its lead role in the direct implementation of all the fieldwork of the project, including hands-on in the analysis of the data was instrumental to the success of the study;
- Another innovation is the very big percentage of matching interviews conducted during the fieldwork phase; and
- The conduct of the Validation workshop where findings of the research was presented to the participants, and resulted to a lively participatory formulation of priority areas that are deemed important as follow up activities that highlighted RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES, and recommendations for follow-up actions.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) thru its Gender Division provided the financial resources; and main partner was UN-INSTRAW (now UN-Women).
A Guide for Filipinos in Italy
International migration is a global phenomenon that involves the movement of people from one country to another for various reasons. The majority of these migrants leave their countries of origin in order to find employment abroad to support their families. Currently, about eight million Filipino women and men, or 10% of the population, are working in different regions of the world. In 2006, there were 113,907 Filipino migrants legally recorded in Italy, and 70,694, or 62.1%, of these are women.
The Filipino community is one of the oldest migrant groups in Italy, and while there exist governmental and non-governmental organizations that respond to their social and economic concerns, there is an urgent need for materials that consolidate basic information about remittances, the rights and responsibilities of foreign workers, access to social services, and other issues. These materials are designed to better facilitate the social and labour integration of migrants in the host country.
This booklet aims to provide Filipino migrant workers in Italy with concrete information about immigration laws, the sending channels and costs of remittances, available services that promote the migrant’s well being, such as medical care and education, and lists of governmental and non-governmental agencies, as well as community organizations that provide assistance to migrants.
International migration and over-indebtedness: the case of Filipino workers in Italy
It is not a sin to borrow money (hindi kasalanan ang umutang). This was the statement of a participant in a study in 2012 on Filipino migrant workers who incur debts, which in some cases they find increasingly difficult, and even impossible, to pay.
Indeed the study, International migration and over-indebtedness: the case of Filipino workers in Italy – commissioned by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), UK – shows that a debt can be a blessing or a curse or just a fact of life that does not define or determine the success of Filipino migrants. However, there are signs that the cases of over-indebtedness have been occurring more frequently since the new millennium. Although over-indebtedness is a condition influenced by the personal traits and conditions of a migrant family, there are just as influential external factors such as the conditions in both sending and receiving countries.
Filipino migrants borrow larger amounts than other migrants in Italy. The majority of loans amount to 10,000 euros or roughly half a million pesos. For some migrants these amounts enable them to invest in land, a home, the education and even migration of other family members, which do help to improve their income and standard of living. At the other extreme are migrants who have to borrow regularly, and even resort to usurers, just to be able to send remittances for the basic needs of their families. Others borrow to cope with occasional but relatively large expenses such as medical emergencies but manage to pay their debts on time, usually by cutting back on expenses.
Even before the study, the Filipino Women’s Council (FWC), through years of works and activities with the community in Italy, already observed that the role of migrant workers as principal or even sole breadwinners make them vulnerable to incurring excessive debts. The situation has been exacerbated by the 2007-2008 global crisis and the internal weaknesses of the Philippine economy and governance. The rising costs of living in the country, due mainly to increased food and fuel prices, and the changes in the exchange rate have forced migrants to send more remittances, to the point of using their savings for this purpose.
As the study concludes: Borrowing can easily turn into an unwelcome necessity, rather than a strategy to improve the transnational family’s economic standing and help it achieve its long-term goals and dreams. The gains from migration might shrink while the losses may multiply due to forces beyond the migrants’ control, such as the global economic crisis and the nature of Philippine growth, characterized as growth without real increases in both jobs and income. Not even the Filipino migrant’s bayani (hero) mindset and capacity to make sacrifices for family can overcome such problems.
Link to this Italian press release: http://www.fieri.it/2013/01/16/sovraindebitamento-e-migrazione-internazionale-il-caso-dei-lavoratori-e-delle-lavoratrici-filippine-in-italia/
Domestic workers speak up: a global fight for rights and recognition
From personal to political, and back: the story of the Filipino Women’s Council
For 25+ years the Filipino Women’s Council in Italy has worked to improve the lives of their community. Could their path serve as a model?
By Charito Basa, Rosalud Dela Rosa with Dona Rose Dela Cruz and Aubrey Abarintos
The Filipino community in Italy is one of the oldest communities of migrants in southern Europe, with first arrivals dating to the 1970s. In 2016 the resident Filipino population in Italy was 167,176, of which 57.4% was female and 42.6% was male.
Most Filipino women migrants are employed in the service sector as domestic workers, caregivers for the elderly, and babysitters. By carrying out these roles, they fill the gaps created by inadequate welfare and social services in Italy. Yet their roles go beyond the care industry – as primary and secondary income earners for their families in Italy and in the Philippines; as distant mothers, wives, and daughters; and as members of Filipino communities in Italy and back home. They are women, workers, women of color, and migrants, and therefore must also face problems associated with class, gender, race, and their status as migrants.
To read more and download the complete book, please click on this link: https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/giulia-garofalo-geymonat-sabrina-marchetti/global-landscape-of-voices-for-labour-right…