Domestic Service

Domestic Service, Health and Culture

Domestic service (housework and care-giving for compensation), while evolving in form, continues to exist and is even increasing in some regions, as more women enter the workforce; unskilled workers migrate to urban areas in search of employment, room and board; the number of elderly people grows; and employing domestic servants is increasingly equated with socio-economic status. Domestic servants are challenged to maintain and promote their own health, frequently in extremely marginalized and abusive conditions. Additionally, they are often responsible for the health of others, including their natal family, their own partners and children, and their employers’ households. They may participate in the household production of (ill)health by engaging in food purchasing, preparation, and storage; water hygiene; cleanliness of the home and clothing; waste disposal; care and nurturing of children and adults; and responding to health-related emergencies. I contend that this involvement may make them ideal foci of health education resources and efforts. In addition to the servant-health interface, my related areas of inquiry include how development (economic growth and modernization) influences and is influenced by domestic service, and the role of discourses about domestic servants’ sexuality in health and development. These issues spark questions about the relationship between domestic workers and the state, the (re)construction of gender roles, employer-employee relations, globalization, migration, and modernization.


To download publications, go to All Publications authored by Namino Glantz

“Moving maids: Dynamics of domestic service and development.”
Glantz NM. In: Política y Cultura 23: 82-102. 2005.


“Domestic servants, development, and health.”
Glantz N. Working Group on Gender, Reproductive Health and Population Policies (GRHPP) Global Meeting, Cape Town, South Africa, 2002.

Manuscripts Not Yet Published

“Domestic servants as household health care workers: A key target group for health education intervention?”
Glantz N. Grant proposal for research based in Comitán, Chiapas, Mexico. 2002.

“Development and domestic workers’ sexuality.”
Glantz N. Tucson: University of Arizona. 26 pages. 2002.

Publications and Presentations
Reproduction | Gender Relations & Violence
Clinical & Household Care | Social Capital | Research & Planning | Elders