Dr. Habiba Zaman is Professor in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, Simon Fraser University. She earned her M.A. in Political Science and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba. Her areas of research interest include Immigrants, settlement and work in Canada; Global south and social justice movements; Gender and development; Globalization and labour mobility; Race, gender and class; South Asia. She has published extensively in international journals.

Current Activities

SFU City Conversations: Making Visible the Invisible: The Intersectionality of Invisible Labour

Mar 1, 2018

12:30 - 1:30pm

SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre
515 West Hastings St., Vancouver

Room 7000

As part of SFU Public Square’s 2018 Community Summit, Brave New Work, this special edition of City Conversations will be hosted in partnership with the SFSS Women’s Centre.

Are outdated and stereotypical gender roles continuously enforcing systemic issues such as the invisible workload? What is the invisible workload anyway?

Today, the mental and emotional impact of invisible labour has moved beyond family duties and continues to pervade even the most diverse and progressive ways of living. Through various forms of structural oppression, such as race, class, age, and (dis)ability, as well as factors such as workplace policies, benefits and expectations, the care economy, immigration laws, and the aging population, among many others, the gaps of inequality continue to widen, often to the disadvantage of marginalized groups.

This conversation goes beyond the intersections of gender. Instead, our panelists will delve deep into how the invisible workload and other burdens are systemically and disproportionately impacting some individuals more than others, in their home, their workplace, and their community. Then it’s your turn to pose questions, comments, and observations. Together, we can begin using this as an opportunity to create awareness and go beyond the often outdated notions of gendered work


Habiba Zaman is a Professor in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University. She is also an associate member of SFU Labour Studies Program. Zaman is the author of several books and reports including Breaking the Iron Wall: Decommodification and Immigrant Women’s Labor in Canada (2006) and Asian Immigrants in “Two Canadas”: Racialization, Marginalization, and Deregulated Work (2012). She is also the co-author of Workplace Rights for Immigrants in BC: The Case of Filipino Workers (2007). Currently, she is editing a conference proceeding titled Canada 150 Conference on Migration of Bengalis (2018). She is one of the editors of McGill-Queens series in Gender, Sexuality, and Social Justice in the Global South. Zaman is a Board member of South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) and South Asian Film Education Society (SAFES). She is an Advisor of Gender and Development Research Centre, Hohai University, China.

Kendra Strauss is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Simon Fraser University. She is also the Director of The Labour Studies Program and The Morgan Centre for Labour Research. She is a labour geographer and feminist political economist with teaching and research interests in the areas of labour market change, welfare regimes, and systems of regulation. Her work focuses on occupational pensions; precarious work, migration and unfree labour; and on theorizing the relationship between production and social reproduction in contemporary capitalist economies.  Before coming to SFU she taught at Birkbeck College (University of London) and held posts at the University of Glasgow and the University of Cambridge, where she was Director of Studies for Geography at Robinson College.

Natalie Drolet joined Migrant Workers Centre as Executive Director – Staff Lawyer in November 2014. Her legal practice focuses on the areas of immigration law and employment law. Natalie has been active in the fields of migration and human rights since 2003 when she worked as a researcher in Thailand for Rights & Democracy. Before joining MWC, she served as the Staff Lawyer for a multilingual access to justice initiative with the South Ottawa Community Legal Services. Prior to this, Natalie worked in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where she managed projects to advance the rights of domestic workers with the Legal Support for Children and Women. Natalie received her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill University in 2009 and her Master of Arts in Immigration and Settlement Studies from Ryerson University in 2005.

For more information, visit the SFU Public Square website,

Poster design by Sanzida Habib.


Dear Dr. Zaman,

Thank you for including me as a guest at the FASS Canada 150 Mini-Undergraduate Conference, which was held at SFU’s Harbour Centre Campus on Friday, December 1.

I was impressed by the GSWS 312 students and the overall tenor of their five-minute presentations. They spoke well on such a diverse range of topics and their demeanour was confident and assured. The quality of the research the students had conducted was also impressive. It showed a full grasp of the course material as well as abstract concepts and indicated a depth of innovative scholarship that was remarkable.

What stood out for me in particular was the way in which the students were able to weave the strands of theory, lived experience, and practical applications together to examine the issues of immigration, migration, settlement, resettlement, discrimination and more.

From labour issues and policy to second-generation experiences to domestic violence to cultural representations, it was a whirlwind day of academic exploration and knowledge sharing. The students shared stories of migrant communities, whether Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, South Asian, South Korean, Syrian, — in fact the myriad backgrounds of those who consider Canada their home.  The students’ efforts in doing so were sensitive, tactful, and exhibited a mastery of critical thinking skills. I especially appreciated the efforts of the students who cast their gaze on the legacy of Canada’s history and the impact of state-building on the Indigenous communities in our own country.

What I came away with, in addition to admiration for the work of these young scholars, was an even greater understanding of how Canada’s success in the world today is dependent on the contributions of migrants who have made their home here or who have worked here. That the young students in your class appreciate this fact while understanding that there are voices that remain unheard and experiences that remain unexamined made me believe that the awareness they are helping to build through their studies, and the change that they will be a part of, ensures a better understanding of the past and a stronger future for the country we share.

It truly was an inspirational day!

With warmest regards,

Reema Faris
Ph.D Student,
Department of Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies (GSWS)

Videos of the Canada 150 Conference on Migration of Bengalis - click the link below to watch

Interview with Zee TV with Rishma Johal on ZEE TV. (Starts at the 4 minute mark)

PROJECT DALIT - The Daily Star click here to read article

Dr. Habiba Zaman has organized the upcoming performance event with Arno Kamolika as part of the Margaret Lowe Benston Lecture Series for Social Justice.