Waqar Husain, Muhammad Ahmad Husain and Farrukh Ijaz
The household tasks e.g. cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc. have been associated with women in many parts of the world due to unfair gender roles and gender-based discrimination. Families who can afford domestic workers also prefer female workers instead of men. Female domestic workers have been recognized as the most vulnerable segment among women. They are at a constant risk of abuse and harassment. Pakistan, being the sixth largest population of the world and a collectivistic Muslim culture, lacked research about the psychopathological condition of the women housemaids. Through clinical interviews, the current study screened 250 female domestic workers for major depressive and generalized anxiety disorder, based on the criteria set by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The study also analyzed participants’ on-job experiences of being emotionally, physically, or sexually abused. 52.8% of female domestic workers were diagnosed with major depressive disorder and 53.2% with generalized anxiety disorder. 51.2% female domestic workers had experienced verbal abuse; 21.2% had experienced physical abuse; 55.2% had experienced emotional abuse; and 28% had experienced sexual harassment from their employers. The current study was the first ever in Pakistan which analyzed the possible psychosocial sufferings of female domestic workers.
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