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Lecture 42 Social Policy part 3 – Domestic Workers.docx

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Sandra Colavecchia

Sociology 2U06: Family Sociology March 26 2012 Lecture 42: Social Policy part 3 – Domestic Workers Topic: - Chapter 26: by Arat-Koc Arat-Koc - Domestic workers overregulated while their working conditions are underregulated o Primarily women coming to Canada to engage in childcare or eldercare o Policies put in place do a disservice to these women  Also do a disservice to the children o Overregulated  Conditions under which they can come here, stay here, work here etc. o Underregulated  Working conditions  Not adequately protected  No assurance that they are working in non-coercive, safe enviros  Context under which they come to Canada is all about financial coercion  Lack of citizen status and need to fulfill the two year live in requirement means these workers have little voice or ability to change their conditions  Sometimes tremendously exploited - A “crisis in the domestic sphere” o A feminist critique o Increasing number of women are in the labour force  Including moms  Only a small number of Canadian families fit the male breadwinner/female homemaker model o Men have not picked up their fair share of unpaid labour o Lack of political will to find alternatives to domestic service  i.e. changes to work enviro – on site childcare, opportunities for telecommuniting, paid or unpaid sick days to care for a child/elderly relative  Employers don’t accommodate our lives right now o Domestic work is invisible – working conditions are so bad that Canadians are unwilling to do this work  Have to bring in people who are going to be willing  No systematic research to tell us that the quality of care for the children is good  Quality of care is unknown - Implications of this crisis o For women  Women disproportionately do unpaid labour – adverse impace on physical and emotional health o For marriage  Tension, conflict, difficulty about meeting requirements for care and work and unpaid labour  More likely to point the finger at one another, rather than the state o For children  Might not be getting the best care  Have to contend with stressed out parents and stressed out domestic care workers - History of domestic service o Pre-industrial euro and n. amer  Servants did both productive labour and domestic labour  Fudal Europe – idea of family was the household – servants part of the family  Families were patriarchal – servant had to be obedient to the father  In turn they were offered protection from the male as well as guidance etc. o Early industrial era  Work of servants more strongly identified with domestic labour – not so much productive labour  Domestic and feminized labour  Feminized occupation with women doing this work  Relationship between servants and employers begins to shift  Servant used to have a caring rela with patriarchal head of fam  Shift in rela to greater distance between servants and employers o One reason for this is that we start to see in more affluent households – women doing less or absolutely no physical/manual labour – entirely relying on female srrvants for this  Creates quite a bit of distance where in the past you may have had the female head of household working alongside the servants in the kitchen etc. th o Demand for domestic servants declined through 19 c  Became less time intensive as modern conveniences arise, so less need for them  i.e. clothing could be bought, didn’t need ot be made from scratch  Status of domestics is declining as well  Because of this – only the most vulnerable are willing to do this work o i.e. newcomers to the country – the Irish to the U.S.  Canadian born women had other opportunities provided to them as the service sector expands  Opportunity to flee domestic service – and flee they do  Prefer to do anything besides domestic work, even if it is for the same pay because they want to gain the privacy and the boundaries of a private life after work – something you do not get when you live with a family and work as their domestic o U.S. vs. Canada and race/slavery  Domestic labour tied to race/immigration status and still is now - History of International Domestic workers in Canada o West Indian Domestic Scheme (1955)  About bringing in single women aged 18-40 with no dependents primarily from Jamaica  Came here as landed immigrants – had to work as a domestic for one year before becoming citizens o Foreign Domestic Movement (FDM) Program (1981)  Allowed foreign domestics who worked in the country for 2 years to apply for
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