I have to start by saying that I was blown away with the readings this week. I was disappointed that I didn’t know about the injustices that some are currently facing today in domestic work. That’s one goal of my blog down! Learn more about the world around me and open my eyes to things I haven’t been exposed to yet – CHECK!
Domestic Worker: “ a person who works within the employer’s household. Domestic helpers perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family, from providing care for children and elderly dependents to housekeeping, including cleaning and household maintenance.” (Google Definitions)
After reading “Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: A Feminist Approach for a New Economy” by Ai-Jen Poo, it really pulled a heartstring with me. In the article the author discusses how domestic workers are put through endless amounts of abuse, mistreatment, and straight shame. I got to read the story of a domestic worker who lived in a basement as the floor was flooded with sewage and she used pieces of wood and cardboard as steps to access her bed. This cannot be the country I know.
This story needs to be heard.
About 2.5 million women work as domestic workers in the United States, and they do so without any updated laws or protection. 98% of these workers are immigrants that are unable to get another job, so they stay in their horrible conditions making somewhere around $3 dollars per hour while they worry about being fired without warning. Being a woman I know how certain types of men can act behind closed doors… and those kinds of men who have almost an endless amount of power over a woman who has such a small amount of rights… that is what’s terrifying to think about for me. If I didn’t have employment laws protecting me, I couldn’t imagine how I would feel in their situations.
“Considering the prevalence of domestic violence, despite generations of organizing and advocacy on the part of women’s movement, one can imagine what is possible behind closed doors.” (Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: A Feminist Approach for a New Economy).
Domestic Workers United is working against this to fight for not just women, but all domestic workers to gain the rights they deserve- to be protected with human rights. Without these workers, it would have a domino effect on the sectors that benefit from their work. Those who rely on domestic workers to take care of their children at home, their houses, or even loved ones would be forced to stop their daily activities. This could have a massive affect even bigger than any of us have even imagined. But let’s not forget that we should care not because our lives could fall apart without them, but because their lives, self-esteem, and dignity are falling apart as we speak. I’m excited to look more into DWU and see if I can make a difference- because this cannot be the country that I know.
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Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: A Feminist Approach for a New Economy, Ai-Jen Poo