Social and legal empowerment of domestic workers in Brazil

Master thesis English OPEN
Byelova, Kateryna (2014)
  • Publisher: Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås
  • Subject: Domestic workers | Empowerment | Feminism | Intersectionality | Gender | Class | Race | Labor rights

Working daily inside middle-class and, mostly, white families` houses, domestic workers in Brazil constantly face the social and economic inequalities embedded in their lives and routines. The various intersections of gender, class and race are intrinsically linked to this professional occupation, as well as to the low social status that it entails. Moreover, the gender role of women who work as domestic workers still positions them as the main actors in charge of activities in their own household. The research aims, thus, at analyzing the dynamics of domestic workers` access to equal opportunities in both social and legal terms and in the light of larger socio-cultural context of Brazil. Through the lenses of feminist intersectionality, I explore hierarchical structures, which have been affecting domestic workers` social positioning, and analyze perceptions of domestic workers, employers and domestic workers` union of this professional field and its transformation. Through semi-structured individual interviews conducted in Goiânia with 15 female domestic workers, 5 female employers, 4 male employers and one female representative of the union, this investigation highlights the changes which have been occurring with domestic work in Brazil on the way to achieving more social justice and legal equality.
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