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The Work of Domestic Work

by Sister Josephine Amala Valarmathi, 10 November 2008

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Samar 30, November 10, 2008

Domestic work is often not viewed by society and government as "real" work. They are usually referred to as "maids," "servants," or "helpers." This social stigma has undermined the self-esteem of domestic workers. But there has been a shift over the years in the awareness and recognition of domestic work as work. The term "domestic worker" itself intends to give dignity, status and respect to the occupation. The empowerment of domestic workers and the struggle for fair working conditions has contributed to this shift in attitudes by some employers as domestic workers have come to be valued as employees and human beings.

The National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM) has been fighting for the rights and dignity of domestic workers in India since 1985. NDWM is now organizing domestic workers in 23 states across the country, including child domestic workers and migrant domestic workers. In Tamilnadu, they are active in 18 districts and work towards achieving dignity for domestic work and workers, at both a national and international level. Locally, they are registered as Tamilnadu Domestic Workers Welfare Trust (TNDWWT) and Migrant Domestic Workers Welfare Trust (MDWWT). TNDWWT and MDWWT encourage participation and leadership in the hands of domestic workers, stand together for the rights of domestic workers, seeking justice and legislation for them, and create a strong public awareness to enable domestic workers to achieve a healthy recognition in society
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