is Domestic Work Feminized and Philippinized?
to keep a person’s head above water, a decent and suitable job is quite
important. A person’s skills,
personality and interests can affect their decisions in choosing a career.
Educational attainment often serves a major role in a person’s chances in being
accepted into a job. However, individuals who are unlucky enough to not have
the sufficient resources to have access to proper and formal education due to
unfortunate circumstances led them to settle for a job that does not require an
academic background, such as work that demands manpower and domestic labor.
“Today, domestic workers make up a large
portion of the workforce, especially in developing countries, and their number
has been increasing— even in the industrialized world.” 1
Domestic work is an occupation that is common for adequately skilled
individuals who do not have enough academic inclination. More or less, this
kind of job is well-known and necessary amidst the corporate world.
helpers are known to perform different household chores and services such as
providing care for the children and elderly dependents to housekeeping,
including cleaning and household maintenance. Other responsibilities include
cooking, laundry, ironing, shopping for food and other household errands.”
work has been an essential occupation for the longest time. It dates back to
colonial periods in several countries around the world. During this period,
slavery was very prominent because the colonizers imposed their power over
their newly acquired territory and its inhabitants. People in the upper echelon
had slaves mainly to avoid doing chores involving hard labor, knowing that they
have someone to pass the responsibility to without complaints and resistance.
has existed in the Philippines even before colonial times. During the pre-colonial
times, lawbreakers were taken as slaves as punishment for their crimes.2
The treatment of slaves during this time was relatively humane. Eventually, the country was colonized by Spain
and non-Christians were taken as slaves, as they see Christians as superior
Slaves were treated unlike actual living beings and had little to no rights.
the dawn of Christianity, the Philippines had a new set of rules in accordance
to the new religion. Spain gave Filipinos opportunities for work and education.
However, people were not treated equally. Filipinos were still divided by their
positions, power, even by gender. The Spanish colonizers had a new definition
for what a woman should be and how they should act. The ideal woman for the
Spaniards was one who was overly submissive and obedient (Maria Clara). The educational system was modeled after the
religion, and the church, along with the government, believed that women should
stay at home.4
With this belief, women had the duty of doing housework by default.
freedom of women was suppressed because the Spaniards realized that women in
the Philippines were very important and was sic regarded highly and that fact
scared them. It was different from what they were used to coming from a land
where patriarchy ruled and men were the stronger ones.”5
stereotype had been around since then, and women doing domestic work became a
staple for households throughout the country. They clean, do laundry, take care
of children, go to the market, cook, and do other housework. Families who have
both parents working but are in need of someone to do these chores often hire
domestic helpers if they can afford it. The majority of people who apply for
this kind of job are women, so they hire women for the job. The reason for both
of these phenomena is the stereotype.
time went on, globalization became an option for Filipinos seeking better
career opportunities. In the 1970s, the government, under former president Ferdinand
Marcos, encouraged labor migration as a temporary solution to the steadily
increasing unemployment rate while they were formulating a solution to
establish a strong Philippine economy. While this was meant to be temporary, Marcos
implemented policies imply that labor migration may be more of an enforced
program for years to come. Several administrations later, more and more Filipinos
migrated to other countries to find work.6
Soon enough, the Philippines was known as one of the top countries that
export workers abroad.7 Even
to this day, Filipinos still engage with the different jobs offered abroad
because of the benefits and privileges that they can get.
year since the 1970s, Filipinos who leave the country to work amount to few
thousands per year. The majority of these OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) are
women. Women have outnumbered men since the early 1990s.8
By the early 2010s, OFWs around the world were estimated to be at 2.22
million, 48.3% of which were females.9
there are around 10 million OFWs. An estimated 2.067 million of them are domestic
workers, most of which are women.10
Because of the financial situation
of their families, many Filipinas will take on any job to sustain their needs.
Some Filipinas who have an educational attainment that is insufficient for them
to land a professional job usually resort to working as domestic helpers. Filipinas
are known to be very hardworking as many of them are housewives who usually do
household chores and care for children, thus making them suitable for the position
of a domestic helper.11
Some domestic helpers work locally, and some who really need a high-paying job
would go work overseas, where the peso rate is higher.
Domestic work has been feminized
because of the abhorrent tradition that was instilled in our culture and society
in which women are meant to do housework. It has been Philippinized
unconsciously by Filipinos who only wanted a better life for their families who
unwillingly belong in the sea of poverty created by the dwindling economy of
the Philippines. Filipina domestic workers cannot be blamed for this, for they
are simply creating a brighter world for their kin.