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Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Working women working for women workers.

I have a theory (maybe only an opinion) about the complicated relationship between women who employ other women to do housework and help look after and raise their children. Part of the theory revolves around whether the employer harbours some sense of guilt about having another woman who is possibly also a mother/homemaker working to make the employer's life easier. I won't elaborate on my thoughts now but just offer a taster with some photographs. One of these women is the employer. The other is the employee. Can you tell who is who? There won't be any prizes for guessing correctly.

One piece of research on the topic that interests me is byLaurie Ousley, entitled "The Business of Housekeeping: The Mistress, the Domestic Worker, and the Construction of Class". However, to understand the complex relationship between women employers and women domestic employees, you need to go back in history, to "A Treatise on Domestic Economy", by Catharine Beecher (see reference), one of the most prominent of American domestic economists in the 19th century, and women "liberationists". Beecher aimed to codify domestic duties and emphasized the importance of women's labour (see reference).

I'm going to leave the subject there for the moment and wait for the guessed answers.

2 comments:

Jdid said...

looking forward to hearing this theory.

and i'll guess the one working is the employer.

Sonia said...

I think this guilt you speak of has a price tag.... Pay enough and there's no guilt. Fair exchange is no robbery as they in Jamaica and other places.