Utilisation and access to private and public health care services by domestic workers in Cyprus: Mapping inequalities and discrimination

M Theodorou, Christalla Pithara, A Konstantinou, M Kantaris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Introduction: Domestic workers constitute the largest group of legal migrants working in Cyprus. This research aims to examine the experiences of domestic workers in Cyprus with health and illness and explore any problems or barriers to access and utilization of health care services, focusing on evidence of gender discrimination and inequalities.
Methods: Qualitative research methods were utilized in order to explore the domestic workers’ experiences. Face to face interviews with 13 female domestic workers took place using English and Greek.
Results: All participants appeared to share a common experience with health and health care utilization in Cyprus. However, the role of the employer as gate-keeper to health care services and their control over women’s access raised the issue of autonomy – or lack of – among domestic workers. Issues of discrimination linked to autonomy emerged through absence of social integration, lack of information on health care services and entitlements,
lack of participation in the clinical interaction (interpersonal communication), all associated with issues of infantilization and commodification of domestic workers within the Cypriot society.
Discussion: Domestic workers in Cyprus are a particularly vulnerable group and due to current agreements fall entirely under the custody of the employer with no overview from the Labour Department. Empowerment of these women is essential for eliminating the issues of inequality and discrimination emerging through the interviews. Education is an important first step but for it to be effective it needs to be directed to both migrant women and employers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMapping the Gender Equality: Research and practices - The National and International Perspective
Place of PublicationUniversity of Cyprus
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2010


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