The Covid-19 crisis reveals the subordination of the migrant and/or racialised women

  • Office of the Vice-principal for Equality, Diversity and and Inclusive Policies
  • April 16th, 2020

Ruth Mestre Mestre, an associate professor of the Philosophy of Law and the director of the initiatives within the course of Diversity of the Universitat de València, has made a statement about the ways in which the crisis reveals the system of oppression and dominance over women. The professor condemns the particular situation of subordination of the migrant and/or racialised women.

A member of the Human Rights Institute of the Universitat de València and an expert in the feminist legal theory, Ruth Mestre views this crisis as “a dystopic situation which reveals system deficiencies and many problems that feminists have always condemned. These problems arise from the link between the recognition of human rights and the formal masculinised work in the public sphere.”

Throughout history, feminists have been condemning the link between the recognition of human rights and the public work assigning an inferior rank to women. Ruth Mestre posits that the situation leaves the care work only for women and, particularly, for the female migrants and racial minorities. This situation reinforces the position of female subordination.

“We are talking about the household workers working without a contract and often without adequate legal papers; the household workers with contracts but without proper rights who work under special conditions of social security; sexual workers who are not even considered as workers and who do not have any recognised rights... so many women who are marginalised,” explains the associate professor of the Department of Philosophy of Law and Politics who for years has been researching the mechanisms of feminism, law, and immigration.

The study on the migrant workers and the negotiation of equality in the context of a household (in Spanish):

The study on feminism, rights, and immigration: feminist criticism of the immigration law (in Spanish):

Professor Ruth Mestre explains that the care workers have always been marginalised by the system. During the Covid-19 crisis, this marginalisation is even more evident given that “the government aid during the crisis are targeting the workers in the formal masculine sector in the public sphere, which once again proves that the center of all concerns has nothing to do with sustaining one’s life.”

At last, the director of the initiatives within the course of Diversity appeals to the need to change the profoundly unfair social structures and make them cater to the needs of all people.