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    Exploring the growth of paid domestic labour: a case study of London

    Cox, Rosie (2000) Exploring the growth of paid domestic labour: a case study of London. Geography 85 (3), pp. 241-251. ISSN 0016-7487.

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    Abstract

    Paid domestic work is an increasingly important form of employment in Britain today. This sector, which includes jobs such as cleaners, nannies, au pairs and housekeepers, tends to attract women, and in particular migrant women. This article examines the trends which encourage the growth of paid domestic employment and which shape the domestic workforce in Britain. It looks first at changing gender roles, and the effect of increasing numbers of women joining the formal workforce. Next, it examines income polarisation and the importance of the welfare benefits system to encouraging the growth of informal sector employment. Then it explores how migration feeds employees into the sector. A case study of London, using data from the 1991 Census and a survey of advertisements for domestic workers in The Lady magazine, is included. This shows the extent of the sector, the variety of jobs that exist and the intricate geographies they have. Domestic employment is found to be concentrated in central and north-west London in established middle-class and wealthy areas. Demand for domestic workers who are not normally involved in childcare is even more concentrated than that for all categories.

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