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Microaggressions of Caregiver Employees: What has Social Work Got to Do with It?

The aging demographics have intensified the demands on caregiver-employees, defined as individuals who are engaged in both paid employment and unpaid care labour. Many of these caregiver-employees are visible minority immigrants working in Canada's small and medium sized town and rural regions that are now experiencing increased migration from visible minority populations. This paper presents limited findings on microaggressions and racism from a larger study that examined the employment experiences of immigrant/refugee caregiver-employees working in the health sector. The study utilized qualitative interviews of thirteen women to capture the experiences of participants in a medium-sized region made up of both urban and rural areas in southern Ontario with a population approximately 237,339. Intersectionality and constructivist grounded theory provided the theoretical and analytical framework for the study. Participants’ narratives capture multiple experiences of overt and aversive racism as their everyday reality; however, they continued to work amidst difficult and discriminatory work conditions as they needed their job to support their family in Canada and in their country of origin. Study findings highlight the urgency of social workers to take an active role in combating racism through anti-racist organizing and diversity training.


Bharti Sethi

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