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The presence of foreign women in Italy is particularly relevant in communities originating from Eastern European countries. This presence is destined to increase in the near future. Eastern European women are particularly numerous in the Adriatic regions, mainly because of spatial proximity. This kind of mobility is also reinforced by the EU development programmes favouring cooperation among all the Adriatic regions.
The phenomenon is relevant enough to justify the existence of an Adriatic model Chieti-Pescara metropolitan area represents well this model. Female migration in this area is characterised by a large presence of Eastern European women, fairly well-educated, who move alone, motivated by economic factors, searching for autonomy and independence. They play an important role in the domestic care, in a mature society where women have a job outside home. Their salary is not very high but it is used also to contribute to the survival of the family members left behind with whom they keep a strong link.
The presence of a fairly ificant of foreign women [Montanari and Staniscia, ] and a large of Eastern European women in the area corroborate the hypothesis of the existence of an Adriatic model of female migration [Staniscia, ]. This model is characterised by a high presence of Eastern European women when compared to the ones coming from other countries. This model characterises the Adriatic Italian regions and can be considered as a sub-type of the Mediterranean model [King and Zontini, ].
The Chieti-Pescara metropolitan area can be considered as representative of the Adriatic model. This paper will investigate the main reasons, characteristics and problems relating to the migration of women from Eastern Europe. In the first chapter, we will devote our attention to the political and economic changes taking place in countries that formerly had a planned economy, specifically Albania, Bulgaria, Poland, Rumania and Ukraine. The second chapter highlights the main characteristics of female migration in the post-Wall era.
The third chapter develops an analysis concerning foreign women in the Chieti-Pescara metropolitan area, based on the of fieldwork undertaken in The fourth chapter outlines the profiles of Eastern European women of various nationalities derived from analysed data. Conclusions will follow. A high percentage of them come from Eastern European countries. Rumanians make up the largest community in absolute terms. Their forecast is based on a model that takes both the dynamics registered in Italy and demographic and socio-economic perspectives in the home countries into .
After this date, flows originating from Eastern European countries such as Poland, Rumania and Ukraine will stabilize, while the size of other national groups will increase. Push factors related to labour market imbalances will actually be reduced in the next five years in Ukraine and Poland and over the next ten years in Rumania.
Table 1. It was managed through competitive conflict between political bodies and public institutions. Moreover, each country interpreted the model individually and it was merely used as a formal reference, particularly during the years of the Communist regimes. The difficulty of managing this reference model has been mentioned here in order to highlight the role of enterprises in the distribution of power between the Communist Party and public institutions.
In reality, therefore, large national companies were not powerless entities passively adapting to central government decisions. These enterprises were actually a concentration of power in the hands of managers who had very precise ideas about how to expand the firm, and who tried to influence both party and public institutions. The changes that have occurred in the state companies have not only modified the productive system but also the functions of assistance to the population and the supply of services, for which the local authorities were not ready.
Since , therefore, they have entered a transition phase due to the dismantlement of the Socialist system. But some countries differed from others. In Albania, the transition phase had peculiar characteristics, since that country — incidentally the poorest in Europe — had lived in a sort of autarchic isolationism since the Second World War and up to Rumania was controlled by the Ceausescu regime, and had therefore experienced an overly centralised decision-making system and the concentration of State property.
According to Earle and Sapatorou , social mobility was rigidly regulated, with graduates undertaking careers on the decision of the central government, which also determined wages on the basis of parameters such as the production sector, nature of employment and length of service.
Ukraine is the only one of the analysed countries to have been part of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian government abolished exit visas in January and passed a specific law to this effect in February It is from this period onwards that the most substantial migration began. The government estimates that Ukrainian migrant communities currently reside for the most part in Russia 1,, , Poland , , the Czech Republic and Italy , A survey undertaken in [Malynovska, ] showed a ificant increase in the migratory flow towards Germany, Portugal and Italy compared to a survey using the same methodology in The second survey showed that while the percentage of emigrants with a secondary school diploma remained high, the percentage of those with a higher education degree, who had managed to find a suitable job at home because of the process of economic development, dropped by about half.
Flows towards Poland, Russia and Portugal were primarily made up of male emigrants who found work in construction and agriculture, while flows towards Greece and Italy were largely made up of women who found work in these countries as household help. Although the Western way of thinking, based on civil rights and freedom of expression, had been anxiously awaited, it subsequently led to a form of confusion and an existential crisis.
The transition period created serious imbalances in the administrative system and the distribution of services. The health system in particular suffered, leading to an alarming rise in the mortality rate, especially in Russia and the other former USSR countries [Leon et al. For Group 1 in particular, it was possible to identify a clear correlation for the entire decade between the suicide rate and alcohol consumption. The of this study could contribute to understanding the reasons for the emigration of the women in Pescara. When interviewed, they said they had left behind difficult relationships with their partners, besides having to work abroad in order to support the rest of the family back home.
Sassen hypothesises that in global cities, household tasks are externalised and coned to the market either directly, through the purchase of goods and services, or indirectly, through the purchase of domestic work. Work of this kind is increasingly done by immigrant women [Staniscia, These women often live with the families they work for and do everything: they wash, iron, clean, cook and care for the elderly or the ill.
Sassen describes it as the return of the servant class. Eastern European women often complain about not having a work permit because their employers prefer not to regularize them so as to avoid paying taxes and national insurance contributions.
Ukrainian women complain that, since they cannot travel freely to their country of origin, they are unable to maintain stable relations with people at home. In Ukraine, women who emigrate are considered prostitutes, pig-herders, wood-choppers: women who earn too much money to be doing honest work [Fedyuk, ; Keryk, ].
They also deprive themselves of political rights and in fact give up participating in public life. However, they do not integrate into their host society because they consider their path to be temporary. They tend to return to their country of origin when they can, but usually leave again quite quickly, either because they cannot accept the low wage levels or because they are unwilling, in Ukraine, to do the menial jobs that they are willing to do abroad. There are two opposing interpretations of the way Ukrainian women react to this. This, the writer says, would give them freedom of movement and free them from their employers.
Fedyuk , on the other hand, says that it suits Ukrainian women not to have a work permit because they prefer to remain invisible, go abroad for short periods and earn a higher income, as they do not have to pay taxes and contributions. Perhaps their attitude depends on the time perspective: obtaining a work permit is far more important for someone who has decided to stay in Italy for a long time than for someone who wants to return home quickly. Keryk confirms that most Ukrainian immigrants in Italy are women, most of them from Western Ukraine.
The majority are in the age range of years and most of them are separated with a dependent child left at home. To start with, there are differences in the national character that explain why the attitudes of Ukrainian women are different, for example, from those of Rumanian women. Then there are differences between women coming from urban areas and women coming from rural areas. Before this date, it was mainly men who emigrated; women only did so to follow their husbands or other male members of the family.
It was very rare for women to migrate on their own, as they considered themselves or were considered to be unsuited to undertake what was often an illegal journey. Obtaining a visa was so costly that illegal travel was often the only way. It was hard for women to run this risk. Starting from , however, the free circulation of tourists changed everything [Vlase, ]. Women migrate regardless of their husbands or brothers to improve their financial situation, escape the control of the family or improve their situation once they have returned home.
According to Ionela Vlase , the decision to migrate creates a genuine process of empowerment. However, unlike other national groups, Rumanian women tend to live with other members of the family, try to get their husbands to follow them or go back to their husbands. This also influences their choice of job. They work as domestic help but tend not to live with the employer and prefer to work by the hour so as to be able to look after their families.
Despite this, they complain of feeling extremely isolated and alone. They feel excluded from life in Italy while finding it difficult to create a life of their own. The economic crisis generated by the transition to a market economy has created unemployment and a sharp fall in income levels, which has principally affected women. Their right to work has also been restricted by the policies of conservative governments in recent years: no more social services to look after children and help mothers, limited access to contraceptive methods and an anti-abortion stance.
All these measures have been implemented to return women to their role as daughters, wives and mothers within the four walls of the home: not independent workers but rather financially dependent [Coyle, ]. These neo-conservative governments reflect the social situation of the country, where there are men with health problems such as alcoholism and men who are violent, especially at home. Hence, financial problems, the desire to escape oppressive families and the denial of their human rights have led Polish women to undertake migration paths.
In countries where it is difficult to settle legally and where policies are unfavourable to foreigners, such as Italy, even the most highly educated women do menial jobs — baby-minders, caretakers and cleaners — often remaining illegal. Bulgarian women experience the same situation [Suter, ]. We must ask ourselves what will happen in the future and how policies will evolve, considering that Poland has the highest female education rate in the EU [Eurostat, ]. These women undertake paths that make them feel like long-distance commuters or travellers rather than migrants.
They often move temporarily, often returning to their country of origin where they have often left their children. They have a very close network of friends and acquaintances through which they find a place to live and a job once they have reached their destination, and with whom they share their problems and interests. By working long hours for a satisfactory income, they manage to create the kind of modern and globalised life for themselves that they cannot have in Poland.
However, the situation is psychologically unbearable, as in fact the foreign women become the property of the host family, on which they are totally dependent. They have no independence and no freedom; they are paid very low wages and in general their presence is illegal. This way the women feel freer and more independent. They choose their employers and negotiate their working hours and pay, even though they often come into conflict. In fact, they are given the heavy cleaning while the employers do the lighter work. The employers then complain because they find that the employees are not careful or thorough enough; they are only interested in making money and not in keeping the house clean: this was the result of a survey of Albanian women in Athens [Athanasopoulou, ].
The conflict in the Greek survey is clear: the Albanian women see themselves as professionals who do jobs for which they want to be well paid, while their female employers view them as modern servants who must do everything there is to do without counting their working hours and pay. It is a reasoned sample, not a casual or stratified one, constructed on the basis of informed meetings with the interviewers of various nationalities. The interviewers have the advantage of possessing in-depth knowledge of the communities the women belong to and those with which they have frequent professional and human contact.
This knowledge made it possible to make a reasoned choice of women to interview, who would be the most representative of the communities. The questionnaires were therefore submitted by foreign women who either belong to or are close to the communities. This method was chosen to avoid the negative impact created by the social and cultural distance between possible Italian interviewers and the immigrant women. The interviewers were trained at a series of meetings during which they were taken through the questionnaire point by point and told the reasons for the questions and the positive consequences in terms of knowledge and policy.
For their part, the interviewers pointed out possible controversial points of the questionnaire and questions that could be problematic for the respondents. A common solution to the problems was found. Figure 1. The most widely represented age ranges are the year group So this is a working age population at the height of their working capacity, a fact that will be confirmed when we analyse the composition of the sample by occupation. The unmarried women are to be found not only among the youngest respondents less than 25 years but also among the middle-aged ones. The percentage of widows is fairly ificant, demonstrating the rather high mortality rate of Eastern European men, as we mentioned in the first chapter.
Only In most cases, when the children do not live with their mothers it is because they live in the country of origin, in general with their fathers, as children would be a problem for women on their own in Italy who have to work for several hours a day. When the spouse and offspring-related data are viewed together, the prevailing family model that emerges is one in which the woman emigrates on her own and supports her spouse and children through her remittances.
The majority of the minor children the women have to supportEastern european women
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7. Gender equality