Girl domestic workers’ aspirations and frustrations
in Home economics
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This chapter explores the life histories of girl domestic workers, exploring how they found their first jobs, their perspectives on their working conditions and pay, their experiences of spatial and social mobility, and their relationships with employers and kin. It reveals how girls used employment in domestic service in Lusaka to support themselves and their dependants in the city and the countryside, and how they made significant contributions to household and local economies in the process. Making comparisons with girls’ employment in other southern African cities, the chapter also makes a broader argument about the ways in which gender and age intersected with sexuality and kinship in the making of labour relations in the region. It also engages with contemporary discourses on children and employment in Africa. Specifically, it complicates the representation of girl domestic workers through a lens of victimhood by illustrating how girl domestic workers in Lusaka pursued their own goals and aspirations even in the face of significant personal and structural constraints.

Home economics

Domestic service and gender in urban southern Africa

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