This project investigates the role of women of color in present day European society who otherwise remain in the shadows, and yet perform almost all essential social reproduction labor that any modern society needs in order to function. I look at the social, familial, cultural and political lives of immigrant women in the Netherlands to understand the realities of being a woman of color in a country known to be progessive, tolerant and liberal.
During the years 2004-2006 there was a general call to abolish the Dutch state feminist agency and funds were directed to a commission for the Participation of Ethnic Minority Women. This in essence implied that Dutch women faced no problems anymore and now the attention had to be turned to immigrant women. A specific regulation in the Netherlands excludes domestic workers from most social and employment protection. It is the migrants from countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America who mostly constitute the domestic workforce and who pick up the society’s social reproduction needs at home and in the industry as cleaners, nurses, care providers to the elderly and children, as grunt workers at hotels and restaurants.
I examine the structural, social, political and labour arrangements that enable the celebration of Western feminism and their liberation chiefly built on the back of the labor of immigrant women. Tracing personal stories and migrations histories of individual immigrant women across various sectors of the Dutch economy, my work attempts to understand their lives, desires, aspirations, dreams, fears, doubts, struggles, and failures of those who are effectively women living in the shadow of color.