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Female domestic workers and remittances: triple disempowerment?

Author: 
Kerina Kwamboka Hellen
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

This paper examines the remitting behaviour among domestic servants, also referred to as house-helps, working in Nairobi. It is based on a study whose broad objective was to assess the remitting behaviour among house-helps in Lavington, Mathare North and Buruburu residential estates in Nairobi. The paper focuses on the proportion of income remitted among house-helps and the factors that influence remittances. Remittances among female domestic workers have led to triple disempowerment, in that, firstly, these women are denied access to education and those who proceed to high school may not advance to higher education. Secondly, because of limited access to education, they end up with no jobs or with poorly paid jobs. Lastly, the little they earn has to be divided between their needs and those of their families. It was recommended that there is a need for house-helps to be empowered on their rights as workers. This will ensure that they are in a position to demand for their rights as far as their salaries are concerned. They will also learn the benefits of working together under the workers’ unions. This will in turn ensure that the flow of remittances is enhanced between the house-helps and their families.

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