Female Domestic Workers on the Move: Examining Global Householding and Global De-Householding in Today’s World

  • Rieko Karatani
Open Access


Blown in by a windstorm from the East, Mary Poppins came to the Banks’ home at Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London. The main character of P. L. Travers’ children’s novel, published in 1934, is allegedly the world’s best-known “nanny.”1 The Banks’ household is a traditional one. Mr Banks works in a bank in the City of London, leaving the task of hiring a suitable nanny for their children to Mrs Banks alone. Mrs Banks places a job advertisement in the newspaper, specifying a strong letter of recommendation as a requirement. Thus, a female employer decides the employment conditions of and negotiates with the female employee—a woman directing another woman.2 In the Banks’ home, the nanny is to work in a live-in environment, sleep in a nursery room, and have one day off every other Thursday. Even then, of course, it is not a full day, but only the afternoon between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. In the eyes of the nanny’s employer, there exists neither labor standard legislation nor any basic rights for laborers or employees.


European Union Host Country Home Country Migrant Worker Immigrant Woman 
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© Rieko Karatani 2014

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  • Rieko Karatani

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