Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Blog for domestic workers justice day

Salty Femme let me know that today is the "blog for domestic workers justice day". Today she writes an interesting piece about domestic workers justice from a feminist perspective. She describes how the domestic burden has shifted from middle class white women to working class immigrant women of color. The first group has pursued careers that match their education, but not without the help of the second group that has facilitated those careers by taking care of the domestic work.
salty femme

I agree: domestic work is not valued as real work. This is not only true in the US, but also in Europe. I have been a full time mother for a year now and several people have asked me how I like "doing nothing". I usually do not bother to explain how much work "doing nothing" is.

Salty Femme writes about how domestic work was and continues to be considered unskilled labor. I think it is unskilled labor. I never received any training for being a mother or a housekeeper, but somehow I was trusted to do this job. And thousands of mothers ánd domestic workers are too.
But the fact that domestic work is unskilled labor does not mean that it is "doing nothing". Working in a factory can also be unskilled labor, but it is definitely not considered doing nothing. It does not mean that you cannot be good or bad at it or that you cannot improve yourself. Just take a look at all the books on parenting and childcare. Also, the fact that domestic work is unskilled labor does not mean that it is not important. The labor of domestic workers is one of the backbones of the New York economy and of many other economies in the world. Most importantly: the label of unskilled labor certainly should not lead to nannies and other domestic workers being exploited, abused or treated unequal. Nannies and other domestic workers in New York are often (illegal) new immigrants in a very vulnerable position who deserve to be treated equal to all other workers. That is why I support the Bill of Rights for domestic workers.

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