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Profession : maid

Profession : maid



17 min

| 2016 |

hits: 16115

A photographic film about the situation of Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong. Each year in the Philippines, 100 000 people pass an exam to become domestic workers abroad. Many of them go to North America or to Hong Kong, where one in 10 household hires a domestic worker. 

The minimum wage for domestic workers in Hong Kong is as low as 299 euros. Working 16 hours a day is the norm. A Franco-Belgian expatriate, employee in a humanitarian NGO in Hong Kong, when asked if she thinks her domestic worker, who she pays 439 Euro per month, receives a good wage, answers :" Yes. We won't compare with France because we adapt to the local market... But obviously, I don't know how she handles with this salary to live here and to send money to her family... I don't know how she makes it!" (from the film).

The film brilliantly captures a specific relation of exploitation in which domestic workers, living at their employer's home, are constantly supposed to demonstrate that their needs have - even for themselves - become secondary in relation to their employer's needs. This as to fit with their employers' racist assumptions that migrant women have a natural ability for emotional labour : "this is in their culture, in their genes, it is true they are all devoted" (from the film).

Worldwide, 100 million women were employed as domestic workers in 2015. In 2013, when the film was made, it was 52 million. For an analysis of this phenomenum, see in particular the book Doing the dirty work from Bridget Anderson.


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