Policies supporting household and in-home care services contribute to the development of a highly feminised, precarious and low-skilled labour sector, in turn indirectly increasing the pay differentials between men and women – and between women. This paper seeks to analyse the combined effects of family, labour market, gender equality and migration policies on the position of racialised women in the care labour sector. What are the objectives of these various sets of policies, and most importantly, how are they articulated? How is the policy goal and constitutional duty to ensure the advancement of gender equality reconciled with the growth of a highly precarious gender-segregated labour sector marked by the overrepresentation of racialised women? Special attention will be drawn to the implications of gender- and colourblind laws and policies. In what specific ways do seemingly gender- and race-neutral laws impact women and/or racialised minorities? What processes create such (un)intended effects?
The first section of this paper outlines migration policy measures linked to the labour market for care; the second analyses the gendered and race-related effects of the flexibilisation of the labour market on care workers; and the third explores the interplay between heteronormativity, structural gender inequality, and gender-blind laws and policies.