Breaking the code: Women, labor migration, and the 1987 family code of the Republic of the Philippines

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Outnumbering their male counterparts since 1995, migrant Filipino women-a group that has been referred to as the "breadwinners of the nation" (Mission 1998)-contribute much of the remittances that sustain and provide the national economy with its largest source of foreign currency. In fact, former President Corazon Aquino, in a speech delivered to Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong, acknowledged migrant women workers as the nation's "new heroes" (Rafael 1997). Notably, we should add to this group the women in exportprocessing zones, as they generate another large source of foreign currency for the Philippines. Considering that women's labor provides the nation with its two largest sources of foreign currency, one can claim that Filipino women have achieved tremendous economic power in the Philippines. Indeed, women have participated in various income-generating activities throughout history as informal peddlers who have subsidized the main subsistence of men, as agricultural workers who have assisted men in tilling the soil, and more recently as productive wage earners in dual income households (Eviota 1992). Yet migration without doubt magnifies the income contributions of women and in the process puts doubt on traditional notions of feminine domesticity. Migration initiates the complete removal of a great number of women from the domestic sphere, suggesting a breakdown of the ideology of women's domesticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGender and Globalization in Asian and the Pacific
Subtitle of host publicationMethod, Practice, Theory
PublisherUniversity of Hawai'i Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780824831592
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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