The author looks at why there are so many negative reports when it comes to employing maids and offers a simple way of resolving this issue.
The UAE is a country where having a maid is a norm, and in fact, many households tend to employ multiple maids. The cost of employing housemaids is relatively affordable and the demand is high. Most families employ maids to help with managing a large household, to look after the children, and various other reasons. This makes life a lot easier to manage and enjoyable for those who are able to afford this extra helping hand. However, employing maids isn’t as easy as it seems and it comes with its own set of challenges, issues, and in some cases, horror stories. The newspapers aren’t short of reporting cases of mistreatment and abuse towards the maids, or the other way round, where the maid brings harm to their employers.
There have been many cases where maids have hurt the children they are supposed to be watching over, stolen valuable items, ran away and absconded from their duties. There are countless horror stories related to these, sometimes of maids from a certain nationality, resulting in an entire nation being labeled as “difficult” or “violent”. However, it is important to remember that not everyone is the same; there is always a bad apple, and it doesn’t mean that the rest are also rotten.
There is another side to this story, where the maids are mistreated by their employers, whether through physical, verbal, or sexual abuse. Some cases have been of maids who have not even been given their basic human rights of food and shelter. The ease of employing maids is being abused by many, and there needs to be an end to this.
Every maid who comes into this country is doing so to earn a livelihood for themselves and their families. They are leaving behind their homes and families, and their safety nets, and traveling into the unknown. Imagine how scary it must be for these young women to go to a foreign country and to be taken into an unknown home with unfamiliar people. They are putting their lives at risk to support their families, and it is every employer’s duty to ensure that these people are treated with the respect that they deserve.
I believe if, as a family, you are treating your maids with respect, you will have a positive experience with them. If you are employing a maid to live in your house, look after your property, and more importantly your children, then be welcoming and keep an open mind. Treat them with kindness, speak to them, involve them, and make them feel wanted. In successful organizations, every effort is made to ensure that the employees feel engaged in order to gain their loyalty and trust. Every relationship is a two-way street, and the one between an employer and a housemaid is no different.
When a maid feels safe and knows that they are with a caring family, they will have less reason to stray and fall onto a wrong path. If they are respected, they will in return respect you back and do their job more willingly. We had a housemaid to support us when my husband and I first had our twins, and when her contract came to an end, she decided to move back home, as she wanted to start her own family. On her last day in Dubai, she cried as she said goodbye to us and our children. Despite her excitement to see her family after two years and to pursue her dream of becoming a mother, she shed tears as she said goodbye to her “employers” because we always made sure that she was treated with kindness and respect.
It doesn’t matter whether someone is a CEO or a housemaid. In the end, everyone is striving to do the best they can with the circumstances they have. Everyone deserves respect, and as human beings, it is our responsibility to ensure that we treat everyone equally.
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.