Dr. Habiba Zaman


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.



Canada 150 Conference Proceedings Migration of Bengalis

Editors:  Habiba Zaman and Sanzida Habib

ISBN: 978-1-77287-044-2

The SFU Library has digitized the Canada 150 Migration of Bengalis conference proceedings:



Racialization, Marginalization and Deregulated Work

Habiba Zaman is a Professor in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University.

Canada is experiencing a major demographic shift, with two-thirds of the population in major cities predicted to belong to racialized groups, particularly Asian newcomers, by 2031. But how are these immigrants faring in this new Canada? Employing the International Labour Organization’s concept of “basic security” and the voices of immigrants themselves, Asian Immigrants in “Two Canadas” demonstrates that their security — such as work, job, employment, and voice and representation — has been compromised in multi-dimensional ways. Changes to immigration policy and the neoliberal restructuring of the Employment Standards Act in British Columbia have led to further marginalization within the labour market and the creation of deregulated and hazardous workplaces — resulting in the emergence of “two Canadas” within the Canadian welfare state. Representing a diverse group of immigrants, this book demonstrates a shared experience of precariousness and insecurity — an experience that has led to a broad- based alliance of Asian immigrant workers aimed at addressing workplace security and rights.

2006 Breaking the Iron Wall: Decommodification and Immigrant Women’s Labor in Canada. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books (A Division of Rowman and Littlefield Publisher), 185 pages.

1996 Women and Work in a Bangladesh Village. Dhaka: Narigrantha Prabartana/Feminist Press, 148 pages.


2013 (with Syeda Nayab Bukhari) "South Asian Skilled Immigrants in Greater Vancouver:  Formal and Informal Sources of Support for Settlement" (Canada), Metropolis British Columbia, 50 pages

2007 (With Cecilia Diocson, and Rebecca Scott), Workplace Rights for Immigrants in BC: The Case of Filipino Workers. Vancouver (Canada): Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative,48 pages.

1998 Patriarchy and Purdah: Structural and Systemic Violence against Women in Bangladesh. Uppsala (Sweden): Life & Peace Institute, 44 pages.


2010 “The Political Economy of Asian Immigrant Labour in Canada: Intersections of Race, Gender, and Class,” (18 pages; to be published) The Twelfth International Conference (held in December in Trivandrum, Kerala, India, 2009, ) proceeding titled The Political Economy of Social Divisions: Race, Gender, Class, and Caste as Fetishized/Fetishizing Borders, edited by Professor Abdul JanMohamed, University of  California, Berkeley, USA.

2007 “Neo-Liberal Policies and Immigrant Women in Canada,” in Simon Lee and Stephen McBride (eds.), Neo-Liberalism, State Power and Global Governance, pp. 145-153. The Netherlands: Springer.

2005 “Domestic Violence: South Asia,” in Suad Joseph (ed.) Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, (Vol. 2 – Family, Law and Politics), pp. 123-125. Leiden, Boston: Brill Publishers.

2000 “Labour Rights, Networking, and Empowerment: Mobilizing Garment Workers in Bangladesh,” in Marilyn Porter and Ellen Judd (eds.), Feminists Doing Development: A Practical Critique, pp. 158 - 171. London: Zed Press.

1984 “UN Human Rights and the Position of Women in Bangladesh,” in Abunasar Shamsul Hoque (ed.), Human Rights: Principles and Practices, pp. 39-48. Rajshahi: University of Rajshahi Press.


2012 "Laboring Practices: Canada" (5,168 words, restricted length, Invited) in Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures. Brill Online Reference Works, General Editor: Suad Joseph.

2010 “Racialization and Marginalization of Immigrants: A New Wave of Xenophobia in Canada,” Labour/Le Travail, Vol. 66 (November), 33 pages.

2010 “Pakistani Skilled/Educated Immigrant Women in Canada: An Exploratory Study,” Pakistan Journal of Women’s Studies: Alam-e-Niswan, Vol. 17, No. 2, 12 pages.

2004 “Transnational Migration and the Commodification of Immigrant Female Labourers in Canada,” International Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 29, pp. 41-61.

2001 “Globalization from Below”: Feminization of Migration, Resistance, and Empowerment– A Case Study,” Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 22, Special Issue, pp. 1109-1129. 

2001 “Paid Work, Multiple Roles and Socio-Political Consciousness: Voices of Garment Workers in Bangladesh,” Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 31 (2): 145-160.     

1999 “The Taslima Nasrin Controversy and Feminism in Bangladesh: A Geo-Political and Transnational Perspective,” Atlantis, Vol. 23(2): 42-54.

1999 “Violence against Women in Bangladesh: Issues and Responses”, Women’s Studies International Forum, Vol. 22(1):37-48.

1995 “Resistance against Seclusion: Women, Work, and Patriarchy in Bangladesh,”  Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Special Issue: Evaluating Experiences: Doing Development with Women, Brigitte Levy & Caroline Andrew (editors): pp. 105-122.

1995 “Patterns of Activity and Use of Time in Rural Bangladesh: Class, Gender and Seasonal Variations,” Journal of Developing Areas, Vol. 29(3): 371-388.

1984 “DeMaoization: China after Mao,” The Indian Political Science Review, Vol. 18(2):121-130.

1983 “The Military in Bangladesh Politics,” Politics, Administration and Change, Vol. 8 (1-2): 88-102

1981 “Patterns of Student Leadership in Rajshahi University,” The Journal of the Institute of Bangladesh Studies, Vol. 5: 148-160.

1979 “Employment of Women in a Purdah Society: A Study of Values and Attitudes of University Teachers about Employment of Women in Bangladesh,” The Rajshahi University Studies, Vol. 9:183-197.


2010 “Asian Immigrants’ Vision of an Alternative Society in Australia and Canada: Impossibly Utopian or Simply Social Justice?” Journal of Identity and Migration Studies, Vol. 4 (!): 2-19.

2003 “Migrant Women Workers and Filipino Nurses in Canada: Looking at Race, Class, and Gender Dynamics of De-skilling’” in Conference Proceedings: Advancing the Rights and Welfare of Non-Practicing Filipino and Other Foreign-Trained Nurses, pp 35-39. Vancouver: Filipino Nurses Support Group.

1998 “Women’s Studies at SFU, Canada: History, Current Programs and Future Directions,” Women’s Studies and Development in the 21st Century (conference proceedings), pp. 71-87. Beijing, Peking University.

1994 “Reproductive Choices and Third World Women: Population Control and Health Hazards” in Reproductive Rights and Reproductive Wrongs (Proceeding of a Conference held in Victoria, BC). University of Victoria: Centre for Sustainable Regional Development. 

1984 “Women in Higher Education: A Study of Attitudes of Female Students to Selected Development Issues of Bangladesh,” in V.S. Pendakur (ed.), South Asian Horizon (Vol. 2 Political Economy and Rural Development), pp. 43-53. Ottawa: Canadian Asian Studies Association.

1981 Higher Education of Women in a Traditional Society. Dhaka: University Grants Commission.

Review Articles 

1987    “Anthropology as History,” Man in India, Vol. 67 (1): 59-64.

1986    “History, Culture and Development,” The Eastern Anthropologist, Vol. 39 (3): 261-269.        

Articles in Popular/Scholarly Journals

2012 "Louise E Sweet" in Anthropology News, October

2008 "Immigrant Women and Accreditation in Canada," Thirdspace: A Journal of Feminist Theory and Culture (on-line journal), Vol. 7 (2), 5 pages

1999    “Patriarchy and Purdah,” New Routes, Vol. 4 (2): 12-15.

1999    “BC Scholars to China,” Society, Vol. 23 (3): 29-34.

1997  “Bringing Activists and Academic Together: A Report on the Sixth World Congress in Women,” Kinesis (Vancouver, BC), May Issue, pp. 15.

1997    “Teaching Feminism in the Maritimes: Reflections on Encounters,” Society, Vol. 21 (1): 21-25.

1983    “The Role of Military in Bangladesh and Pakistan: A Comparative Study,” Asian Profile, Vol. 11 (4): 377-396.

Book Reviews

2008  Khan, Sahnaz. Zina, Transnational Feminism, and the Moral Regulation of  Pakistani Women, Vancouver, UBC Press, 2006, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences

2006  George, Sheba Mariam. When Women Come First: Gender and Class in Transnational Migration, Berkley: University of California Press, 2005, Labour, Vol. 58 (2): 279-281.

2003  Goetz, Anne Marie. Women Development Workers: Implementing Rural Credit Programmes in Bangladesh. New Delhi, London (UK): Sage Publications, 2001, Pacific Affairs, Vol. 76 (1): 141-142.

2002  Wazir, Rekha (ed.). The Gender Gap in Basic Education: NGOs as Change Agents. London: Sage Publications, 2000, Pacific Affairs, Vol. 75 (2): 313- 314.  

2002  McGown, Rima Berns. Muslims in the Diaspora: The Somali Communities of London and Toronto, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999, Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Vol. 31 (1): 146-148.  

2001  Vosko, Leah F. The Gendered Rise of a Precarious Employment Relationship, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000, Canadian Historical Review, Vol. 82 (4): 795-796.

2000  Barndt, Deborah (ed.). Women Working the NAFTA Food Chain: Women, Food and Globalization, Toronto: Second Story Press, 1999. Resources for Feminist Research, Vol. 27 (3/4): 173-175.

1998 Jeffery, Patricia and Roger Jeffery. Don’t Marry Me to a Plowman: Women’s Everyday Lives in Rural North India, Boulder: Westview Press, 1996, 294 pages, Journal  of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 28 (4): 566-67.     

1998  Cook, Rebecca J. Human Rights of Women: National and International Perspectives, Philadelphia: University of  Pennsylvania, 1994, Resources for Feminist Research, Vol. 26 (1&2): 146-47.       

1996  Moghadam, Valentine. Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1993, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 16 (2): 315-317.

1986    Melotti, Umberto. Marx and the Third World [Translated by Pat Ransford], London: Macmillan Press, 1977, Journal of the Indian Anthropological Society, Vol. 21 (2): 194-196.

1983    Women for Women Research and Study Group, Women for Women: Bangladesh 1975, Dacca: University Press Limited, 1977, Journal of the Indian Anthropological Society, Vol. 18 (1): 85-87.

WORKSHOPS (Principal Organizer)

2006  “Asian Immigrants in BC,” Wosk Centre, Vancouver, April.

2006  “Economic Security and Impacts of the Employment Standards Act on Immigrantsin BC,” National Metropolis Conference, Vancouver, BC, March.

1997  “Combating Racism and Becoming an Ally of Anti-Racist Groups,” Northern Lights College Dawson Creek Campus, Chetwynd, B.C., April 19.

1996 “Building Bridges between the Cultures,” Cranbrook Women’s Centre, Cranbrook, B.C., May 10.

SAMPLE OF REFERENCES TO MY WORKS (Work quoted, discussed, illustrated or cited)

1) Spousal abuse against women and its consequences on reproductive health: A study in the urban slums in Bangladesh
Authors: Salam, A., Alim, A., Noguchi, T.
Maternal and Child Health Journal
10 (1), pp. 83-94, 2006

2) Gender violence and development discourse in Bangladesh
Author: Khan, F.C.
International Social Science Journal
(184), pp. 219-230, 2005

3) Urban violence: A guide to the literature
Author: Winton, A.
Environment and Urbanization
16 (2), pp. 165-184, 2004

4) Woman abuse: The construction of gender in women and men's narratives of violence
Authors: Boonzaier, F., De La Rey, C.
South African Journal of Psychology
34 (3), pp. 443-463, 2004

5) Rethinking the 'domus' in domestic violence: Homelessness, space and domestic violence in South Africa
Author: Meth, P.
34 (3), pp. 317-327, 2003

6) Violence and social capital in urban poor communities: Perspectives from Colombia and Guatemala
Author: Cathy Mcllwaine, Caroline O. N. Moser
Journal of International Development
13 (7), pp. 965-984, 2001

7) Patriarchal family ideology and female homicide victimization in Fiji
Author: Adinkrah, M.
Journal of Comparative Family Studies
32 (2), pp. 283-301+iii+vii+xi, 2001

8) A Guide to the Literature on Aggressive Behavior
Author: [No author name available]
Aggressive Behavior
26 (6), pp. 466-476, 2000

9) Mujhe Jawab Do! (Answer me!): Women's grass-roots activism and social spaces in Chitrakoot (India)
Author: Nagar, R.
Gender, Place and Culture
7 (4), pp. 341-362, 2000

10) Recasting Our Understanding of Gender and Work During Global Restructuring
Authors: Jean L. Pyle, Kathryn B. Ward
International Sociology
, Vol. 18, No. 3, 461-489, 2003

11) Changing gender roles and health impacts among female workers in export-processing industries in Sri Lanka
Author: Chamila T. Attanapola
Social Science & Medicine
, Volume 58, Issue 11, Pages 2301-2312, 2004.

12) Gender violence and development discourse in Bangladesh
Author: Farida C. Khan
International Social Science Journal
, Volume 57 Issue 184 Page 219-230, 2005.

13) Unravelling women’s stories of health
Author: Chamila Thushari Attanapola 2005
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Doctoral Theses at NTNU 2005:218

14) The Effects of Global Economic Restructuring on Urban Women's Work and Income-Generating Strategies in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Authors: Kathryn Ward, Fahmida Rahman, A.K.M. Saiful Islam, Rifat Akhter, Nashid Kamal
Critical Sociology
, Vol. 30, No. 1, 63-102, 2004

15) Women and Microcredit in Rural Bangladesh
Author: Aminur Rahman
Westview Press, 2001

16) Engendering Development Theory from the Standpoint of Women
Authors: Dawn H. Currie, Anoja Wickramasinghe
Gender, Technology and Development
, Vol. 1, No. 2, 247-276, 1997

17) Valuing Women's Voices
Authors: Cecilia Ng, Swasti Mitter
Gender, Technology and Development
, Vol. 9, No. 2, 209-233, 2005
Year: 2005

18) Gender and Migration Policies in Southeast and East Asia: Legal Protection and Sociocultural Empowerment of Unskilled Migrant Women
Author: Nicola Piper
Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography
25 (2), 216–231, 2004

19) Gender Equity in Social Forestry Programs in Bangladesh
Authors: MiyanRukunuddinAhmed, JanG.Laarman
Human Ecology
, 28 (3), 433-450, 2000

20) Beyond “Entry-level” Jobs: Immigrant Women and Non-regulated Professional Occupations
Authors: Liza McCoy, Cristi Masuch
Journal of International Migration and Integration
, 8 (2), 185-206, 2007

21) Poverty and "Damaging Fluctuations": How do they Relate?
Authors: Saurabh Sinha, Michael Lipton, Shahin Yaqub
Journal of Asian and African Studies
, Vol. 37, No. 2, 186-243, 2002


a) Many RP women in BC are educated but underpaid

GMA News – 18th December, 2007

b) Some employers take advantage of new B.C. immigrants: report

CBC News – 11th December, 2007

c) False promises to newcomers

The Asian Pacific Post – 20th December, 2007

d) New B.C. immigrants stuck in low-paying jobs: study

SFU News Online – 17th December, 2007

e) Labour Protection Exists

Olga Ilich, B.C. Minister of Labour and Citizens' Services – 12th April, 2008

f) Third World emigrants filling childcare and nursing positions

The World Today Archive - 11 February, 2004