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Within Four Walls: the Empowerment of Household Workers in Chile

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Title: Within Four Walls: the Empowerment of Household Workers in Chile
Author: Barends-Ramirez, Gabriela
Department: School of Languages and Literatures
Program: Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Advisor: Kowalchuk, LisaLupien, Pascal
Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to analyze how Ley 20.786 has contributed to the improvement of working conditions and the empowerment of household workers in Chile. Ley 20.786 was passed in 2014 in Chile, and it formalizes the working conditions of all household employees, regardless of job status or nationality. To analyze how household workers have the capacity to exercise choice, I draw on the semi-structured interviews I carried out during my fieldwork in Santiago de Chile. The results indicate that there are some improvements in the working conditions of domestic workers as a result of Ley 20.786. The results also suggest that the women in this job sector find ways to configure their power relations at work, become aware of their traditional vulnerable position by accessing information about their labour rights, and that they make use of their resources, agency, and achievements to gain a sense of empowerment. This thesis contributes to the largely unexplored topic of domestic workers’ empowerment in Chile and Latin America.
Date: 2017-05
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