Women That Were Erased from the Nordic Gender Equality: Outsourcing Social Reproduction in Denmark

Jeen Chun

Student thesis: Master thesis


Even in Nordic countries that pride themselves in leading level of gender equality, women still endure the double burden of paid work and domestic/care labor, as their male counterparts nor the welfare state equally share the burden. Thus, they resort to the market solution that the global capitalism provides and outsource the work of migrant women of color from developing countries through the au pair scheme, in which they are not recognized as formal workers that are entitled to labor rights and proper level of wage. Inspired by this problem formulation, this thesis poses and answers the research question: what are the legal and economic conditions for, and the consequences of, classifying social reproduction as informal labor? After analysis of the case of Filipino au pairs in Denmark on transnational, national, and interpersonal level, this thesis ultimately argues that 1) the way in which international and national laws informalize social reproduction labor reduces the rights of the au pairs as workers and make them vulnerable to abuse; and 2) that both the host and the sender country are economically motivated to maintain the exploitative structure of the au pair scheme, while the transnational private actors profit from the exploitation of the migrant women of color.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages87
SupervisorsMaj Grasten