How many people work as domestic help in India? Official figures from ILO say, 4.75 million. However, ILO also states that the true number should be somewhere between 20 million to 80 million.
It’s almost become a norm for us to depend on the services of domestic workers. Most of the times, our domestic helpers come from vulnerable communities and are poor and illiterate. It’s an altogether different issue whether they are paid enough for their work or not, the discussion today is about the disgusting social stigmas they have to deal with.
From not allowing them to eat or drink in the same utensils to making them sit on the floor and not the sofas we sit on, the so-called privileged people discriminate endlessly. Someone on Reddit talked about such behaviour meted out to their househelp. It started a discussion.
This is what other redditors had to say.
1. If they are hesitant in using basic sanitation services at your home, make them feel comfortable.
Do talk to the domestic help and offer the use of your toilet – while male workers often relieve themselves outside, women don’t have any option and end up drinking less water and holding it in, leading to health issues associated with dehydration, kidney stones, UTI, etc. – Charavaka
2. Talking to them might help.
It’s so deeply entrenched my parents had to speak to them, like listen, you are an equal member here, you can eat the same food and obviously use same bathroom etc. – DearthStanding
3. Some families do not practice any kind of discrimination in their homes.
We are a Sikh family and we have had both Muslim and Hindu maids (we call them aunty). There are no separate utensils for them because we wash all the dirty dishes anyway. They can sit wherever they want although some sit on the floor even if we insist them to sit on a chair or sofa. – Myconfusedass
Idk where this shit is practiced . I am from punjab and our aunty( we dont use words like maid etc) is with us since like 30 years . She is a part of family and eats with us , sit with us etc etc . Also the people I know are like this only .. treating their aunts like a family member . So atleast situation is good in our state. – Royal_Woodpecker0007
4. There are others who discriminate because their househelp are poor.
My mother is basically the same as well. Separate glasses, we can’t touch stuff that she touches and she can’t use our restrooms. I think it has more to do with her hatred of poor people than the caste. – Cool-Ad-8804
One of the redditors replied to this hyprocritical and discriminatory mindset:
Can’t touch but eats the food she makes. I really don’t know how people’s minds work. – DenseProgrammer4265
5. One person talked about an area in Bengaluru where they have separate staircase for domestic help.
If you visit Bangalore, make a point to go to one of the “agraharas” – traditional brahmin neighbourhoods. Buildings made in 80s and 90s with a small number of apartments (less than 20) have a separate staircase for domestic help to access washing area at the back. Ffs, gated communities in bangalore have issues in the present day with domestic help taking the passenger elevators and insist that they take freight elevators.
6. Someone said that they are uncomfortable with the idea of maids and prefer doing household chores on their own. Further, the redditor believes that class difference will always remain no matter how well you treat your househelp.
This particular comment didn’t go down well with fellow netizens.
There is a class difference because they are generally poor. If you treat them well and pay them well, the class difference would reduce. They are offering a valuable service which many people need everyday. There is nothing wrong with hiring them for a decent salary. It provides more money for them and their families. – spikyraccoon
7. People also discussed how domestic workers have internalised this behaviour.
I don’t feel good about it but they are all okay with it. The cook usually has dinner with us and one fine evening I asked mom to tell her to join us on the table, but the cook politely declined. It’s almost like they have accepted their way of life. – 001000110000111
8. A redditor pointed out the hypocrisy.
If I am letting a woman into my home to cook my food or clean my house then she is also welcome to use my bathroom, sit on my furniture, use my utensils. Untouchability is over, people need to get over their prejudices and their stupid egos.