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A Critique of the SFI study: Den Danske Au Pair Ordning

Date: 14 May 2013

Re the enclosed: A Critique of the SFI study: Den Danske Au Pair Ordning: en kvantitativ og kvalitativ undersøgelse (The Danish Au Pair Scheme: a quantitative and qualitative investigation)

authored by: Maria Lurenda Westergaard date of publication: 14 May 2013

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Please find enclosed a critique of the study entitled Den Danske Au Pair Ordning: en kvantitativ og kvalitativ undersøgelse (The Danish Au Pair Scheme: a quantitative and qualitative investigation) by Anita Liversage, Rebekka Bille and Vibeke Jakobsen, published by SFI, The Danish National Research Center for Welfare.

The study was commissioned last year by the Minister of Employment Mette Frederiksen who promised to make policy changes in the wake of orchestrated clamour (books, documentary films, reportages, posturing by interest organizations, etc.) to stop the au pair scheme because it was not at all functioning on the basis of cultural exchange but on slave labour. The popular minister decided that research should first be carried out before decisions are made.

Expectedly, the study has already reached the rounds of various media and other fora, and has elicited some political responses. It will likely form the basis for change in au pair policy.

We put forward qualified criticism of the study’s conclusions, writted from the point of view of those who intimately know the scheme and are working with it on a daily basis. The Philippine Women’s Network Babaylan-Denmark has been involved in au pair issues since 2004. Currently, 81% of registered au pairs in Denmark come from the Philippines and nearly 100% are women.

Maria Lurenda Westergaard presents an alternative interpretation of the results of the SFI study and was motivated to write her critique out of a concern that if and when this report is discussed for policy making, “certain ideas will not be considered because they did not appear as possibilities in the study.” Babaylan is facilitating this process of presenting a well-reasoned critique as part of our many-pronged approach to women empowerment.

In this context we would like to mention that on March this year, Babaylan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Philippine government thru its relevant agency responsible for the deployment of au pairs abroad, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Our task is to continue to work towards improving the situation for au pairs, and to alert the Philippine government to abuses of citizens abroad so that it can do what it can to help.

In conclusion, we in Babaylan believe that the Au Pair Scheme, if governed by fair policies and strictly monitored for abuses, can indeed be an opportunity for Filipino youth who are curious about the world and aspire to a better life. We hope that after their stay in Denmark, these young people can come back as fulfilled citizens of a prospering Filipino nation.

Best wishes,
Babaylan-Denmark
The Philippine Women’s Network in Denmark
babaylandk@babaylan.dk
www.babaylan.dk

PS: Please send any reactions to this initiative to our email address:  babaylandk@babaylan.dk

 

You can download the pdf file by clicking on the link: http://www.babaylan.dk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/SFIstudycritiqe-14may20131.pdf

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