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S I G N S Winter 2010 301 ponderance of women as caregivers under Canada’s other flagship man- aged migration scheme, the Live-In Caregiver Program) illustrates how entrenched gender segmentation can become if the tools are made avail- able to do so. Given findings in the literature on gender and agriculture highlighted earlier, which depict a highly patriarchal agrarian culture op- erating within high-income countries, it is not surprising that male mi- grants are the preferred candidates. Canadian employers and civil servants hold rigid gender ideologies that perceive women as less suitable for farm- work (Preibisch and Hermoso Santamarı´a 2006). One civil servant, ex- plaining employers’ reticence to hire women, claimed: There are some inherent logistical problems not only in accom- modations but the nature of the work . . . . [When hiring women] you have to be a bit more selective in assigning the job duties. Because women are great if they’re standing and working with their hands, which is what food processing is all about, or packing, if you’re packing fruit . . . but if you put a female into a tobacco priming aid . . . [employers] may find they may not be as durable, or the longevity of females may not be as great over time . . . . I’m not saying [women] can’t do it [but] employers are leery about making wholesale changes. 25 As this excerpt illustrates, women are generally perceived as suitable for only some of the tasks that compose farmwork, whereas men are consid- ered appropriate for the full range of activities. Gender ideologies explain part, but not all, of the scarce presence of women as migrant farmworkers in Canada. Historically, the importation of racialized male labor was also aimed at maintaining images of migrant workers as temporary, asexual, and alien (Galabuzi 2006). Canadian rural communities remain racially homogeneous places within a nation that continues to hold strong political and cultural attachments to its history as a white settler society (Galabuzi 2006; Sharma 2006). Critical historical analysis of government discussions regarding the SAWP has revealed how official discourse, by means of racist, negative depictions, legitimized in- denturing Caribbean and Mexican men to agricultural jobs and denying them the opportunity to apply for permanent settlement (Satzewich 1991; Sharma 2001). Indeed, migrants to Canada enter an ideological context that is by no means neutral, one in which racialized forms of difference play a central role in organizing inequalities (Sharma 2006). Not sur- 25 Interview of Canadian civil servant by Kerry L. Preibisch, Toronto, 2002. The name of the interviewee has been withheld to protect anonymity. This content downloaded from 130.63.180.147 on Mon, 18 May 2015 21:02:52 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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302 Preibisch and Encalada Grez prisingly, farm operators’ efforts to bring migrants into rural communities, from the 1960s to the present day, have been met with considerable resistance by local residents. In order to mitigate xenophobic opposition
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