ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The World of Domestic Workers

Working at Others’ Homes: The Specifics and Challenges of Paid Domestic Work edited by Neetha N, New Delhi: Tulika Books, 2019; pp x + 314, ₹ 895.

Domestic Workers of the World Unite! A Global Movement for Dignity and Human Rights by Jennifer N Fish; New Delhi: California, London and Singapore: Sage Publications, 2018; pp xiii + 291, ₹ 895.

The politics surrounding housework and its current manifestation in a constantly growing, poorly regulated and highly feminised paid domestic services industry is the essential core of Neetha N’s edited volume and of Jennifer N Fish’s overview of the build-up to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No 189 of 2011 concerning “decent work” for domestic workers. Both the books work with a different reference point. While Neetha N’s edited volume offers a close analysis of prevailing conditions of domestic workers, key aspects of the employer–worker relationship, the nature of labour laws and workers’ resistance in Indian cities, Fish’s research provides a grand survey of the international domestic workers’ movement and issues.

Moreover, Fish’s work ends on a positive note with respect to the global recognition of the issues of domestic workers and the need for state action, whereas most of the articles in Neetha N’s collection detail the dismal scenario of paid domestic work and piecemeal legislative action in India post the euphoric moment of successful ILO deliberations. Despite such differences, the two books offer similar insights on the source of exploitation of domestic workers and the importance and necessity of their unionisation.

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Updated On : 21st Sep, 2019

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