The Impact of Social Networks on the Work-Life Choices of South Asian Women in Ontario, Canada

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Virtual via Zoom

The Impact of Social Networks on the Work-Life Choices of South Asian Women in Ontario, Canada


Anju Philip

Anju Philip

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Management, Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, University of Guelph

South Asians are currently the largest visible minority group in Canada, and there continues to be an influx of highly educated and skilled South Asian immigrants. This immigration of South Asian people into Canada belies the significant challenges they face in resettlement and integration. Existing scholarly literature indicates that South Asians struggle to find employment and once they do, they continue to face discrimination. Additionally, and in particular, South Asian women continue to bear the burdens of managing most, if not all, household labour. Because South Asian women are known to be relatively more collectivist than other ethnic groups, the influence of their social networks is particularly important to their perspectives and experiences of living and working in Canada.

My doctoral dissertation uses a grounded theory approach to qualitatively explore the personal networks of 31 working South Asian women from Ontario, Canada using a two-part study (pre-interview questionnaire and interview). The overall goal was to explore the extent to which their personal networks impact their diverse choices surrounding work and life and the resulting consequences of choices made. The findings from this exploration of personal networks reveals who these women find to be most influential in their lives and how personal networks impact overall choices related to work and life roles. This research has provided a deeper understanding of one visible minority group in Canada and the recommendations derived from the findings could be used to address equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) issues, creating work environments and policy changes that promote overall productivity and well-being for all diversity groups in the workplace. This study also provides insights to the South Asian community about the necessity of partner support and empowerment of South Asian women.

Anju Philip is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph. She conducts research in the field of Organizational Behaviour and Leadership, specifically topics of work-life balance, social networks, and racialized employees. She has over a decade of academic and industrial work experience, and she currently works at the University of Waterloo as a Lecturer, cross appointed to the Arts & Business Program and the Department of Psychology.

Presented by: Canada India Research Centre for Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)

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