Psychosocial and Economic Experiences of Gulf States Returnee Ethiopian Women Domestic Workers

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Addis Ababa University


In the contemporary Ethiopia, a considerable number of women are working as domestic workers in the Gulf States. Generally, the working environment in the country of destination is not favourable. However, the domestic workers are forced to work under harsh condition to principally to fulfill the economic demands of their parents as well as themselves. They fail to accomplish their objective due to different forms of abuse that they face in the country of destination. In due courses, as a result of traumatic experiences, quite a number of Ethiopian domestic workers experience psychosocial problems. The main purposes of this study are to explore the psychosocial and economic experiences of Gulf States returnee Ethiopian women domestic workers. It also attempts to investigate the push and pull factors as well as the discrepancies between the expectation of the domestic workers and the reality that they face in the country of destination. Methodologically, this study is qualitative method, among the five qualitative method approaches, narrative approach is employed. A primary and secondary data are used to operationalise the study. Primary data has been collected through in‐depth interview with the informants and key informants of the study. As a secondary data archival records are used. The findings of this research show that: 1) Traumatic and life threatening experiences of Ethiopian women domestic workers in the country of destination are the root causes for the psychosocial problems of the Ethiopian domestic workers. 2) Mostly, employers denied salaries of the domestic workers; as a result the domestic workers have not benefitted out of their employment. 3) Economic demands are the basic pushing factors whereas; modernized way of life is the major pulling factor. 4) The expectations of the domestic workers before their departure from the country of origin and the realities that they face in the country of destination are quite different. Besides, language and cultural barriers inflicted their interaction with their employers. As a result, most of the domestic workers experience culture shock, maladjustment, frustration, and finally they became depressed. This study recommends, education is the key factor that could enable women to participate in the formal sector. Therefore, pledging education is the basic measure that should be taken to ensure women’s participation in the public sphere. Besides, provision of prior orientation and societal awareness concerning the cultural, social and economic condition of the country of destination is very essential. Moreover, foreign employment policy is vital to monitor the activities of illegal traffickers as well as to guarantee citizen’s right in the country of destination. Accordingly, providing small scale industry training and skill development training for unemployed women might scale down the number of migrant domestic workers. On the other hand language and skill training for migrant domestic workers will enable them to interact with their employers smoothly



Gender Studies