This paper explores the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT) among Indonesian Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) working and living in Singapore. Drawing upon a survey (n=201) with Indonesian domestic workers and follow up in-depth interviews (n=38), the paper points to recent changes in the technological landscape in Singapore which have altered FDWs use of ICT. This includes cheaper mobile devices and increasing access to free internet, either at their place of employment or in public space. In turn, we suggest the utilisation of ICT has shaped the migration experiences of women in three key areas. Firstly, it has allowed FDWs to more readily straddle the transnational divide their migration creates by making communication with friends and family an instantaneous and everyday occurrence. Secondly, we show how this access is contingent upon issues of trust and negotiation with employers, who often possess passwords for home-based internet and can place restrictions on their employees’ use of ICT. Thirdly, we show how the use of ICT can provide FDWs with a degree of social empowerment, by allowing them to connect globally to a range of information.
Platt, M.; Yeoh, B.S.A.; Acedera, K.A.; Khoo Choon Yen; Baey, G.; Lam, T. Migration and Information Communications Technology Use: A Case Study of Indonesian Domestic Workers in Singapore. Migrating out of Poverty RPC Working Paper 24. Migrating out of Poverty Consortium, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK (2014) 24 pp.