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Filipino Guest Workers, Gender Segregation, and the Changing Social/Labor-Scape in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Simeon S. Magliveras

Abstract

Filipinos are a major part of the workforce in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a population of almost one million. This article investigates the effects of gender segregation on Filipino workers and how they navigate their lives through systems imposed on them. In particular, it examines the Kafala system (administrative sponsoring system) used for recruiting migrant workers for GCC countries. This article suggests that contrary beliefs about gender segregation and dress codes, Filipinas found it empowering. However, this article also concludes that gender segregation and dress codes also lead to isolation and loneliness. In addition, it is concluded that the fate and contentment of the overseas Filipino workers are directly dependent on who sponsors them.

Keywords

Gender segregation, Saudi Arabia, Filipino Overseas' Workers, Dress codes, Home sickness, Kafala system

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