The Private Home as a Public Workplace: Employing Paid Domestic Labor

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Through an analysis of 30 qualitative interviews with white women who employ domestic workers, this research explores the way they negotiate their roles and responsibilities as employers. Paid domestic work relationships challenge the dichotomy between public and private spaces and transform women's traditional work within the family into wage labor. Overall, employers had a difficult time assuming employer positions, evidenced by their lack of direct and straightforward communication and supervision strategies. Many also emphasized the personal or emotional aspects of the work, likening the role of domestic workers to that of homemakers, reinforcing the gendered division of this labor. Furthermore, the article considers the impact of all this on the working conditions of domestics and possible strategies to change the exploitive conditions of this type of labor.


Originally published:

Moras, Amanda. "The Private Home as a Public Workplace: Employing Paid Domestic Labor." Journal of Workplace Rights 13.4 (2008): 377-400.