Archive for the ‘Raising the Filipina's Profile Abroad’ Category

It is saddening to see Filipinas in The Netherlands, Hong Kong and all over the world employed as domestic helpers.  They are working their tails off so that they can send money back home for their children’s education, for their parent’s and relatives’ sustenance or to build decent houses for their families.  Houses which they can never otherwise dream of nor afford owning had they stayed in their own country.

Some risk staying illegally once their employment contracts expire because the threat of deportation if they are caught is a better alternative than returning back to the poverty-like conditions they have been trying to extricate themselves and their families from.  These undocumented Filipinas survive by doing odd jobs; sometimes cleaning ten to twelve houses a week while others are employed full-time in certain households.

In an article written by Jeff Israely of Time magazine, he mentions that a cleaning woman is often generically referred to as a “Filippina” in Italy.

Cleaning other people’s houses and toilets is not the greatest achievement any woman would want for herself in her lifetime.  But she goes ahead and does it in the hope of providing a better future for her children and family.  She sacrifices her own needs and wants and gives up what she has dreamed for herself.

Why do Filipinas choose to work abroad as maids?  The failure of the Philippine government to provide educational opportunities and jobs for its citizens has brought about an increased migration of Filipinas working as domestic helpers in foreign countries.  The country’s leaders actually encourage this exodus because these women have become a vital means of sustaining the country’s economy through their remittances.

It is appalling to note that none other than Philippine president Gloria Arroyo herself has touted the Filipina domestic helpers abroad as supermaids! As head of state and as a woman,   she should be championing women’s rights and initiating employment opportunities for them so that they never have to leave their homes to work overseas.  To proclaim them as supermaids shows a complete failure on her part to improve the conditions of her fellow Filipinas and an utter lack of compassion for the families missing their mothers, daughters, wives and sisters.

No one dreams of becoming a cleaning woman when they grow up.   Although there is nothing wrong with it, and it may be a decent job, it is not something anybody will aspire to given the choice.  Every person has their life’s purpose cut out for them.  Whatever that may be, it should be about reaching one’s highest potential.

Given the right support, education and development program, the very qualities which make the Filipina a preferred maid overseas can be put to better use serving her own country in a more dignified form of employment.


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