Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Care Work and Class: Domestic Workers' Struggle for Equal Rights in Latin America

Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Care Work and Class: Domestic Workers' Struggle for Equal Rights in Latin America

Article excerpt

CARE WORK AND CLASS: DOMESTIC WORKERS' STRUGGLE FOR EQUAL RIGHTS IN LATIN AMERICA

Merike Blofield

(University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012), 155 pages.

A seventy-two hour workweek, no vacation, no maternity leave, and no social security--such is the reality for most domestic workers in Latin America, who are explicitly denied the same rights as other laborers. Only eight of the eighteen countries in the region have any reform laws mandating better conditions. In Care Work and Class, Merike Blofield examines four countries-Bolivia, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Chile--as case studies where reform has occurred, and she seeks to understand why these reforms have been successful and why others have not.

Though Blofield hones in on four countries, she sets each example within a regional context, thus comparing and contrasting one country's experience to that of a regional reality. At the crux of her analysis are Latin America's stark inequalities, whereby a population that Blofield calls "multiply disadvantaged"--poor women who are often from ethnic minorities--provides a domestic workforce for more well off families. …

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