Situated Voices 20
Remittances: Care Here and There
Reflecting on the global economic system’s structure from a feminist perspective leads to a perception of the inequality that crosses it. In terms of migration flows, one key area is related to remittances — periodic transfers of money or products — used by migrant workers in a precarious position to support their families and next of kin, thereby contributing to the fragile economies of their places of origin.
The feminisation and precariousness of specific jobs, such as care work, spotlights the place female domestic workers occupy around different parts of the globe — in the case of migrant women, this unstable employment is combined simultaneously with caring for families in order to cover their basic needs from afar. “The work of ants” which enables, to a large degree, whole national economies to be maintained, albeit without visibility or recognition.
This new edition of Situated Voices puts forward, in line with its format as an assembly-based, horizontal forum bringing together experiences, involvement in and knowledge of today’s pressing issues, a conversation on remittances from a feminist viewpoint, situating the focus on the crossreads between migration, the unequal division of jobs, care, and the role of women inside this cross-border logic.
The edition features the virtual participation of writer and activist Silvia Federici, and in-person contributions from Blenda Carolina García Espinoza, a spokesperson for the Association of Female Domestic and Care Workers, Zaragoza, Rafaela Pimentel, an activist and member of the Territorio Doméstico collective, and anthropologist Andrea Ruiz Balzola. The encounter will be moderated by Ana Longoni.
Territorio Doméstico came into being in 2006 to form a space of encounter, care, and women’s struggles — predominantly migrant women’s — for the recognition of their diminished rights as domestic workers and for the visibility of care work. In 2019, they released the record Sin nosotras se para el mundo (Without Women the World Stops), a compilation of songs that give a voice to the situation facing these workers, songs they take to the street to joyfully vindicate their struggles.
Silvia Federici is an Italian-American writer, teacher and feminist activist who has been one of the driving forces behind campaigns started to vindicate wages for housework done by women as a claim from the feminist economy. She worked for a number of years as a teacher in Nigeria and is currently professor emerita at Hofstra University in New York. Both paths meet in two of her best-known works: Calibán y la bruja: mujeres, cuerpo y acumulación originaria (Traficantes de Sueños, 2004) and Revolución en punto cero: trabajo doméstico, reproducción y luchas feministas (Traficantes de Sueños, 2013).
Blenda Carolina García Espinoza is a member of the Oscar Romero de Aragón Solidarity Committee and a spokesperson for the Association of Female Domestic and Care Workers, Zaragoza. Originally from El Salvador, she was forced to leave her studies and job behind a decade ago due to the situation of violence and migrate to Spain, where she now works as a domestic worker.
Andrea Ruiz Balzola holds a PhD from the University of Deusto (Bilbao), and is a lecturer and researcher at the same university, UNED and the University of the Basque Country/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitate. She also works as an advisor, trainer and researcher for public institutions and third-sector organisations. Since 2019, she has served as general secretary for the ZAS! Basque Anti-Rumours Network Association/Zurrumurruen Aurkako Sarea.