Whyis Domestic Work Feminized and Philippinized? Nowadays,to keep a person’s head above water, a decent and suitable job is quiteimportant. 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 beingaccepted into a job.
However, individuals who are unlucky enough to not havethe sufficient resources to have access to proper and formal education due tounfortunate circumstances led them to settle for a job that does not require anacademic background, such as work that demands manpower and domestic labor. “Today, domestic workers make up a largeportion of the workforce, especially in developing countries, and their numberhas been increasing— even in the industrialized world.” 1Domestic work is an occupation that is common for adequately skilledindividuals who do not have enough academic inclination. More or less, thiskind of job is well-known and necessary amidst the corporate world.”Domestichelpers are known to perform different household chores and services such asproviding care for the children and elderly dependents to housekeeping,including cleaning and household maintenance. Other responsibilities includecooking, laundry, ironing, shopping for food and other household errands.”Domesticwork has been an essential occupation for the longest time. It dates back tocolonial periods in several countries around the world.
During this period,slavery was very prominent because the colonizers imposed their power overtheir newly acquired territory and its inhabitants. People in the upper echelonhad slaves mainly to avoid doing chores involving hard labor, knowing that theyhave someone to pass the responsibility to without complaints and resistance.Slaveryhas existed in the Philippines even before colonial times. During the pre-colonialtimes, lawbreakers were taken as slaves as punishment for their crimes.2The treatment of slaves during this time was relatively humane. Eventually, the country was colonized by Spainand non-Christians were taken as slaves, as they see Christians as superiorpeople.3Slaves were treated unlike actual living beings and had little to no rights.
Withthe dawn of Christianity, the Philippines had a new set of rules in accordanceto the new religion. Spain gave Filipinos opportunities for work and education.However, people were not treated equally. Filipinos were still divided by theirpositions, power, even by gender.
The Spanish colonizers had a new definitionfor what a woman should be and how they should act. The ideal woman for theSpaniards was one who was overly submissive and obedient (Maria Clara). The educational system was modeled after thereligion, and the church, along with the government, believed that women shouldstay at home.4With this belief, women had the duty of doing housework by default.”Thefreedom of women was suppressed because the Spaniards realized that women inthe Philippines were very important and was sic regarded highly and that factscared them. It was different from what they were used to coming from a landwhere patriarchy ruled and men were the stronger ones.”5Thisstereotype had been around since then, and women doing domestic work became astaple for households throughout the country.
They clean, do laundry, take careof children, go to the market, cook, and do other housework. Families who haveboth parents working but are in need of someone to do these chores often hiredomestic helpers if they can afford it. The majority of people who apply forthis kind of job are women, so they hire women for the job. The reason for bothof these phenomena is the stereotype.Astime went on, globalization became an option for Filipinos seeking bettercareer opportunities. In the 1970s, the government, under former president FerdinandMarcos, encouraged labor migration as a temporary solution to the steadilyincreasing unemployment rate while they were formulating a solution toestablish a strong Philippine economy. While this was meant to be temporary, Marcosimplemented policies imply that labor migration may be more of an enforcedprogram for years to come.
Several administrations later, more and more Filipinosmigrated to other countries to find work.6Soon enough, the Philippines was known as one of the top countries thatexport workers abroad.7 Evento this day, Filipinos still engage with the different jobs offered abroadbecause of the benefits and privileges that they can get.
Everyyear since the 1970s, Filipinos who leave the country to work amount to fewthousands per year. The majority of these OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) arewomen. Women have outnumbered men since the early 1990s.
8By the early 2010s, OFWs around the world were estimated to be at 2.22million, 48.3% of which were females.
9 Today,there are around 10 million OFWs. An estimated 2.067 million of them are domesticworkers, most of which are women.10 Because of the financial situationof their families, many Filipinas will take on any job to sustain their needs.Some Filipinas who have an educational attainment that is insufficient for themto land a professional job usually resort to working as domestic helpers. Filipinasare known to be very hardworking as many of them are housewives who usually dohousehold chores and care for children, thus making them suitable for the positionof a domestic helper.11Some domestic helpers work locally, and some who really need a high-paying jobwould go work overseas, where the peso rate is higher.
Domestic work has been feminizedbecause of the abhorrent tradition that was instilled in our culture and societyin which women are meant to do housework. It has been Philippinizedunconsciously by Filipinos who only wanted a better life for their families whounwillingly belong in the sea of poverty created by the dwindling economy ofthe Philippines. Filipina domestic workers cannot be blamed for this, for theyare simply creating a brighter world for their kin.