Domestic service continues to be one of the principal means for poor women and girls to earn a living. Yet, household workers do not have the same legal protection and employment rights enjoyed by other workers. This article examines changes in the sector in Mexico over the past 20 years. During this time, organisations supporting household workers have struggled to keep going against the odds, and to make this ‘invisible’ work visible to legislators and policymakers. Also, social reproduction – the work of caring for people within the home – has gone global, and an increasing number of Mexican women are migrating to work in households in the North. In this context, the International Labour Organisation has finally decided to begin a consultation process that is expected to lead to a convention protecting labour rights in domestic service worldwide. In this article I will highlight some of the changes in working conditions in Mexico, the continuing demands of household workers, and the ways in which they are organising at a local and national level, and internationally.
This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.
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