SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Mrs Mary Elizabeth Wentworth Austin

BA ( Sussex)


Mary Elizabeth Wentworth Austin
Mrs Mary Elizabeth Wentworth Austin
Email address:
Thesis title:
Discourses of the Domestic: journalists, activists and academics creating the climate for an Indonesian Domestic Workers' Bill.
Year of Study:
2 (part-time)

PhD Research

What is puzzling about the political response to the problems of Indonesian domestic workers is a seeming discrepancy between widespread public support for regulating the overseas domestic worker trade and an apparent reluctance to push through equivalent regulation and legislation for domestic workers in Indonesian homes. 

Looking at the recent history and politics of domestic work, my research examines the mediation processes and discursive opposition encountered in domestic worker reform in Indonesia to explore how contested notions of femininity, masculinity and the family intersect with discussions of nationhood and citizenship. 

I hope to include three case studies  in order to focus on the inter-connected roles of journalists, women's rights activists and feminist academics, and do my fieldwork in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Bandung.  


"From Entitlement to Experience: Access to education for children of migrant workers from Burma" in Asian and Pacific Migration Journal  Volume 21, Number 3, 2012.


  • "Washing the dirty linen? Indonesian migrant domestic workers: from commodity to citizen." Presentation at 7th EuroSEAS conference, Lisbon, July 2013.
  • "From pembantu to pekerja:changing representations of domestic workers in Indonesia." Presentation at 7th International Indonesia Forum Conference, Bandung, Indonesia, August 2014.
  • "Mopping up Modernity; domestic workers as modern citizens or fictive kin?" Presentation at ASEASUK 14 Conference, Brighton, August 2014.