Dr. Marina de Regt

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+31 20 59 86728
faculteit der sociale wetensch ( afd. sociale en culturele antropologie )
Assistant professor


Monday - Friday. For appointments, please send an email.   

Promo Master Anthropology



Topical specialisation: Gender, labour, migration, transnationalism, Islam, development aid, social inequality, feminist anthropology, women, domestic workers, youth, girls migration.

Regional specialisation: The Middle East and the Horn of Africa, esp. Yemen and Ethiopia.




Board memberships and management tasks 2015/2016

  • Research Manager department SCA
  • Programme Committee of BSc CAO, chair
  • Programme Committee of MSc SCA, chair
  • Editor Standplaats Wereld (web blog of the department)


Marina de Regt is specialized in gender, labour, migration and development in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. After having worked for six years in development projects in Yemen (1991-1997), she returned to academia. Her current research focuses on adolescent girls' migration in Ethiopia, both internal migration to Addis Ababa and international migration to the Middle East. The research is part of the collaborative research project Time to look at girls: adolescent girls migration and development. As part of this project she contributed to the production of the documentary Time to Look at Girls: Migrants in Bangladesh and Ethiopia (trailer below). In addition, she studies contemporary and historical migration between Yemen and the Horn of Africa, in particular Ethiopia. She is mainly interested in the gendered aspects of these migration flows.

The above-mentioned research projects build on Marina’s post-doctoral research about migrant domestic workers in Yemen(2003-2006). While the migration of Asian women to the oil-rich countries on the Arabian Peninsula is well-known, very few people know that also in Yemen mainly migrant women are doing paid domestic labour. The large majority of these women is coming from Somalia and Ethiopia, neighbouring countries where the political and economic situation was worse than in Yemen. De Regt studied, amongst other things, the differences between domestic workers on the basis of class, religion and ethnicity; the different migration trajectories; aspects of legality and illegality; and preferences of employers for particular types of domestics. She published extensively about this research, and made a short awareness raising film in cooperation with a film maker: Young and Invisible: African Domestic Workers in Yemen (Arda Nederveen Visual Productions 2007). 

Marina de Regt’s historical-anthropological interest developed during her work as coordinator of the South-South Exchange Programme for Research on the History of Development (2008-2011). As a research fellow at the International Research Center “Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History” of Humboldt University Berlin (2011-2012) she studied the historical relationship between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa in more depth, focusing in particular on gender and lifecycle. 

Marina’s PhD research (1998-2003) was based on her work experience in Yemen. She collected twenty life stories of young Yemeni women who had been trained as health care workers in a Dutch-Yemeni development project. In her dissertation she analyzed the women’s motivations to do this type of work and the way in which it affected their identities, in addition to the different agendas and interests of the donor organization and the Yemeni authorities. Her dissertation Pioneers or Pawns? Women Health Workers and the Politics of Development in Yemen was published by Syracuse University Press in 2007.  

Marina de Regt’s Master research 1989 focused on the changing position of female carpet workers in Rabat-Salé, Morocco: what did the shift from the artisanal production of carpets to mass production mean for women working in the carpet sector? Her thesis De ontrafeling van een vrouwenberoep: Tapijtknoopsters in Rabat-Salé(Marokko) was published by the Women and Autonomy Centre, Leiden (1992).

Time to Look at Girls: Migrants in Bangladesh and Ethiopia:


Publications (Source: VU METIS)

Selected publications:      

2015    "Noura and Me: Friendship as Method in Times of Crisis". Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development 44(1,2): 43-70

2014    with Bina Fernandez (eds.) Migrant Domestic Workers in the Middle East: The Home and the World. New York: Palgrave Macmillan (boek)

2010    "Ways to Come, Ways to Leave: Gender, Mobility and Il/legality among Ethiopian Domestic Workers in Yemen". Gender & Society 24 (2): 237-260

2009    "Preferences and Prejudices: Employers' Views on Domestic Workers in The Republic of Yemen". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 34 (3): 559-582

2007    Pioneers or Pawns? Women Health Workers and the Politics of Development in Yemen. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press (boek)

Film productions:

  • 2015 Time to Look at Girls: Migrants in Bangladesh and Ethiopia
  • 2007 Young and Invisible: African Domestic Workers in Yemen (Arda Nederveen Visual Productions)