The Filipina Narrative in a post-COVID world: Understanding the Filipina Migrant Worker as Producer in the Knowledge Commons

Darlyne Bautista, Women and Gender Studies, University of Toronto


The Filipina Beyond Her Reproductive Labour


For Marxist Feminists Sylvia Federici (2019) and Maria Mies (2014), neoliberalism via World Bank and International Monetary Fund policies have evolved into “new enclosures,” which steal, colonize, and commodify “the commons” in the name of development and modernization. The COVID-19 pandemic has only further demonstrated this violence as a structural determinant to global health. Access to hospital care, effective vaccines, physical distancing, financial supports, and safe work have brought into question the needless disparities found globally (Buyum, et al. 2020). Yet throughout this troubling and uncertain time, the racialized body, specifically that of the Filipina, endures to provide the social reproduction and labour necessary to flout today’s emanating global economic crisis. As the Filipina migrant is hyper-visiblized as a care worker and essential employee, how do we understand her knowledge, culture, and language within the realm of “the commons” in a post-COVID world? Do we feature her then as a commodity? Or do we argue of her work instead as a producer towards our collective survival? This presentation is an epistemological investigation of today’s Filipina migrant workers in care work and essential labour. Analyzing media reports on Filipina labour during the pandemic, I employ Virgilio Enriquez’s (1992) Sikolohiyang Pilipino and Marxist-Feminist theory to argue that the Filipina narrative is needed to convey the knowledge necessary to decolonize care and rationalize global health towards our collective survival.

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CCSEAS Conference 2021 |