Vulnerability, Legal Protection, and Work Conditions of Female Domestic Workers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


  • Kidist Mulugeta
  • Hone Mandefro Concordia University, Canada
  • Ajanaw Alemie University of Gondar



Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, legal protection, work conditions, vulnerability, female domestic workers


Domestic workers are one of the most vulnerable groups of workers. In Ethiopia, however, the vulnerability, legal protection, and work conditions of female domestic workers are not well-documented and researched. Hence, the purpose of this study was to investigate the vulnerability, legal protection, and work conditions of female domestic workers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A cross-sectional qualitative research design was employed using in-depth interviews, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions. The study participants were 15 domestic workers, three officials from the Office of Labor and Social Affairs, and five brokers of domestic workers. Findings indicate that female domestic workers experienced abuse in various forms including verbal or psychological abuse, physical abuse, and sexual assault. Female domestic workers in the study area had few or no labor rights or protection. They rarely had clear contractual relations, worked long hours for low pay, and had little or no privacy. There is neither a proper state institution to promote the rights of domestic workers nor a strong viable movement among or on behalf of domestic workers. Hence, a relevant legislative framework developed by the city and national governments, and strong advocacy efforts to expose their working conditions are needed to improve the work conditions of female domestic workers.


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