Taking out the garbage: Migrant women’s unseen environmental work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, feminist scholars have criticized various European governments for placing the burden of environmentalist practices on women’s unpaid work. While denouncing how environmentalist regimes reinforce gender inequalities, this literature has overlooked migrant domestic workers’ contributions to sustainable practices, such as managing household recyclables and waste. This article addresses the intersection of gender, race and immigration in urban recycling schemes in the city of Naples, Italy, a growing destination for labor migrants and an area with a long history of waste management crises. Through in-depth interviews, the author examines how migrant domestic workers sustain recycling efforts, in their homes and workplaces. These narratives show how precarious immigration and employment statuses push migrant workers to take on burdensome recycling work for their employers. Despite concerns of street harassment and xenophobia, findings further show how contributing to neighborhood recycling efforts are also important ways in which migrant women express their commitment to the local community. These findings broaden existing notions of gender inequalities in environmental governance through an intersectional framework focusing on precarious migrant labor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-55
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Gender
  • intersectionality
  • migration
  • social reproduction
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Taking out the garbage: Migrant women’s unseen environmental work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this