Domestic work and livelihood experiences from a gender perspective: A case study of Chelstone Township in Lusaka
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The aim of the study was to investigate domestic work and livelihood experiences in Zambia from a gender perspective. It specifically dealt with the nature of work, experiences and copying strategies employed by female and male domestic workers in Chelstone township of Lusaka, Zambia. A mixed methods study design was used on a sample of 120 of whom 70 were women and 50 men who were selected using Respondent Driven and Purposive sampling techniques. Structured questionnaires, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were the data collection methods utilised. Quantitative data was analysed using SPSS Version 21 to generate descriptive statistics while qualitative data was analysed using thematic content analysis. The findings indicate that the gender dimension is prominent in the manner that tasks are allocated among domestic workers. The study found that there are jobs that are typical for women and these include child minding/ babysitting, cooking, cleaning house and utensils, washing, laundry, and ironing. Men‟s work on the other hand is more of washing cars, gardening and cleaning surroundings, driving and security services and other household tasks. However, the aspect of gendered division of labour is not a universal phenomenon. It was found that some employers allocated jobs which cut across both sexes and this is often the case among domestic workers who were classified as „general workers‟. Experiences of domestic workers with their jobs are largely negative. They recounted long hours of work, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, poor health consequences, low salaries and unequal relationships with employers. Gender was significantly associated with poor health outcomes with men being mostly affected compared to women except for sexual harassment where women were the most victims. In terms of coping strategies which were resulting from negative experiences, the respondents displayed a sense of helplessness, despair and isolation. Most of them (71.4%) indicated that they can do nothing to easy their situation and enhance their livelihood. Some of them however shared their predicaments with friends, family members, the police and employers‟ significant others. A few opted to quit their employment under undesirable conditions of work. With regard to coping with financial challenges, most domestic workers engaged in small businesses, debts, sexual relationships and stealing. The study recommends public awareness efforts and the facilitation of accessible complaint procedures and for the efficient and meaningful application of written provisions.
University of Zambia
Thesis(MA)-University of Zambia,2015