The Captive Labour Force on Non-English Speaking Immigrant Women

Publisher:  Cross Cultural Communication Centre, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1980
Pages:  16pp   Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2164

An article focusing on the 'invisible work' that non-English speaking immigrant women, in particular, have done and continue to do.

The Wollenstonecraft Research Group at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education conducted a research project in the Spring of 1980 on working class women and the educational system. This article is based on the research undertaken for that project and it will appear in a special issue of Canadian Women's Studies on "Women as Nation Builders" (Winter, 1980).

The purpose of the article is to focus on the invisible work that non-English speaking immigrant women, particularly, have done and continue to do in silence. The thesis is that these women constitute a captive labour force with very few and limited opportunities in society. The article is essentially descriptive and "its aim is to provide a context within which to understand this 'captive labour force' and its relation to the Canadian economy."

The conditions under which immigrant women are coming to Canada are discussed especially in light of the new laws and procedures under "family class" immigration. The ways in which these conditions create dependency of women on their sponsor are also analyzed.

The article then goes on to discuss the working conditions; types of jobs which most immigrant women obtain; and the educational opportunities available to them.

The final section of the paper addresses itself to the contribution of immigrant women to the Canadian economy and in doing so points out that the 'free enterprise system' is rooted in a social structure which is distinctly not free and equal.

[Abstract written in 1980]

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