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Naomi Lightman

Dr. Naomi Lightman

Associate Professor
EducationBA (McGill University, Political Science), MA (McGill University, Political Science), PhD (OISE/University of Toronto, Sociology of Education)

Areas of Expertise:

migration; care work; gender; inequality; critical social policy; research methods


My ongoing program of research uses both quantitative and qualitative research methods as praxis-oriented strategies for social justice. I examine: 1) the consequential gaps and uneven trajectories of migrant and racialized women working in low-wage occupations in health and education (“care work”) in national and cross-national comparative perspective, and 2) the intersections of gendered immigration policies, transnational identities and practices, and precarious employment in Canada’s labour market, in a context of related stratifications tied to race, gender and country of birth. 

To date, my research has involved community-based collaborations with four social agencies, including the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership, Social Planning Toronto, and the Wellesley Institute, while providing extensive undergraduate and graduate training opportunities. My research has led to twenty peer-reviewed publications in highly ranked journals, including Gender & Society, European Sociological Review, International Migration Review, and Health and Social Care in the Community, and has been supported by seven tri-council and institutional grants for which I was Principal Investigator (jointly valued at over $215,000).

Currently I am Principal Investigator of an Insight Grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Counsel of Canada titled “Precarities and Disparities: Female Immigrant Care Workers Over the Life Course.” This project involves community-based interviews with immigrant women personal support workers in Toronto, examining how the pandemic has impacted their livelihoods, health, and well-being. 

Website: (external link, opens in new window) 

ORCID iD icon (external link, opens in new window) 


  • SSH 301: Research Design and Qualitative Methods

Community & Professional Service:

Recent Publications:

Lightman, N. 2024. The High Costs of Caring: Measuring the Prevalence and Consequences of Birth-Related Career Interruptions for Immigrant Care Workers in Canada. (external link, opens in new window)  Canadian Public Policy 50(1): 38-50.

Lightman, N. 2023. Converging Economies of Care? Immigrant Women Workers Across 17 Countries and Four Care Regimes. (external link, opens in new window)  Journal of Industrial Relations 66(1): 79-103.
Good Gingrich, L., R. Banerjee & N. Lightman. 2023. Differential Social Inclusion: The Conversion of Symbolic Capital to Material Capital in Canada’s Fractured Labour Market. (external link, opens in new window)  Canadian Ethnic Studies 55(2): 1-23.

Lightman, N. and A. Hamid. 2023. Working More and Making Less: Post-Retirement Aged Immigrant Women Care Workers in Canada. (external link, opens in new window)  Journal of Aging and Social Policy 25(3): 261-286

Thomas, C. and N. Lightman. 2022. ‘Island Girls’: Caribbean women care workers in Canada. (external link, opens in new window)  Canadian Ethnic Studies 54(1): 29-58.

Lightman, N. 2021. Caring During the COVID-19 Crisis: Intersectional Exclusion of Immigrant Women Health Care Aides in Canadian Long-Term Care. (external link, opens in new window)  Health and Social Care in the Community 30(4): e1343-e1351.

Lightman, N., R. Banerjee, P. Kelly, E. Tungohan and C. de Leon. 2021. An Intersectional Pathway Penalty: Filipina Immigrant Women Inside and Outside Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program. (external link, opens in new window)  International Migration 60(2): 29-48. 
Kevins, A. and N. Lightman. 2021. How Should the Government Treat Asylum Seekers? The Role of Labour Market Vulnerability and Migration in Europe. (external link, opens in new window)  Social Science Research 104: 102666.
Lightman, N. and A. Kevins. 2021. 'Women’s Work': Welfare State Spending and the Gendered and Classed Dynamics of Unpaid Care. (external link, opens in new window)  Gender & Society 35(5): 778-805.
Lightman, N. 2021. Comparing Care Regimes: Worker Characteristics and Wage Penalties in the Global Care Chain. (external link, opens in new window)  Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 28(4): 971-998.

Lightman, N. and C. Link. 2021. Gender, Class and the Cost of Unpaid Care: An Analysis of 25 Countries. (external link, opens in new window)  Journal of Comparative Family Studies 52(2): 206-244.

Lightman, N. 2021. Does Care Count for Less? Tracing the Labour Market Trajectories of Lower Skill Female Immigrant Workers in Canada, 1993-2015. (external link, opens in new window)  Canadian Studies in Population 48(1): 29-57.

Kevins, A. and N. Lightman. 2020. Immigrant Sentiment and Labour Market Vulnerability: Economic Perceptions of Immigration in Dualized Labour Markets. (external link, opens in new window)  Comparative European Politics 18: 460-484.