Worker, helper, auntie, maid?

Published 6 January 2017 / By Bridget Anderson

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Cleaning, cooking, and caring are crucial contributions domestic workers make to societies and economies worldwide. Domestic work is foundational to human life, yet it is typically not regarded as proper work. Consequently, domestic workers may be excluded explicitly from labour rights and protections or subject to discriminatory provisions. Furthermore, domestic work is increasingly carried out by migrant workers, who are often governed by highly constraining immigration laws or not included in immigration regimes at all, meaning that they must reside illegally. To create a clearer picture of the underlying factors influencing the lived employment experiences of migrant domestic workers in Thailand and Malaysia, this study focuses on the links between the working conditions described by migrant domestic workers and attitudes toward migrant and domestic workers as expressed in the media and by employers.

This is a mixed methods study that employs both quantitative and qualitative data collection tools. Migrant domestic workers and their employers were surveyed and interviewed, focus group discussions were hosted, and government officials were interviewed. Press coverage was also analysed through quantitative and qualitative methods.

Read the full report at this link.