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Respect, Status and Domestic Work: Female Migrants at Home and Work


  • Nitya Rao

    () (School of International Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.)


The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a complex and often contradictory process for female, ethnic minority, migrant strangers, moving as domestic workers to Delhi, India's capital. Drawing on empirical work in a village in Jharkhand state, which has witnessed increasing migration of adolescent girls as domestic workers to Delhi over the last two decades, this article highlights the experience of tribal domestic workers at home and at work. It points to their agency in dealing with the contradictions they face between earning incomes, acquiring markers of status and gaining respect across the urban and rural worlds they straddle.Le passage de l’adolescence à l’âge adulte est un processus complexe et souvent contradictoire pour les jeunes femmes de minorités ethniques migrant à Delhi – la capitale de l’Inde – pour y travailler en tant que travailleuses domestiques. Ce travail s’appuie sur une étude empirique menée dans un village de l’État du Jharkhand, qui connaît depuis deux décennies une augmentation du nombre des adolescentes migrant vers Delhi pour y trouver du travail en tant qu’employées domestiques. Il décrit le vécu, chez elles et au travail, de ces jeunes femmes d’origine tribale et met en évidence les manières dont elles affrontent les contradictions entre la nécessité de gagner des revenus, d’acquérir un statut et de gagner le respect des mondes urbain et rural qu’elles côtoient.

Suggested Citation

  • Nitya Rao, 2011. "Respect, Status and Domestic Work: Female Migrants at Home and Work," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 23(5), pages 758-773, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:23:y:2011:i:5:p:758-773

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    Cited by:

    1. Rina Agarwala, 2017. "Using legal empowerment for labour rights in India," WIDER Working Paper Series 057, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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