ⓘ Blog | Domestic work - social issues ..


Amah (occupation)

An amah or ayah is a girl or woman employed by a family to clean, look after children, and perform other domestic tasks. Amah is the usual version in East Asia, while ayah relates more to South Asia, and tends to specifically mean a nursemaid looking after young children, rather than a general maid.



An amanuensis is a person employed to write or type what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another, and also refers to a person who signs a document on behalf of another under the latters authority.


Au pair

An au pair is a helper from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the familys responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a monetary allowance for personal use. Au pair arrangements are subject to government restrictions which specify an age range usually from mid-late teens to mid to late twenties; some countries explicitly limit the arrangement to females. Arrangements differ between Europe, where the concept originated, and North America. In Europe, au pairs are only supposed to work part-time, and they often also study part-time, generally focusing on the language of the host country. In the United States, they may provide full-time childcare. In 1969, the European Agreement on Au Pair Placement was signed, and it came into force in 1971. Au pair companies in the United States have significant non-refundable fees once the au pair arrives in the country. The contract does not guarantee childcare, despite many families reliance on the program. Unlike many other types of domestic assistants, the au pair is considered a part of the host family and not merely an employee. In some countries the au pair wears a uniform, but more commonly the au pair only follows the host familys dress code and wears attire appropriate for the work description, typically including a protective apron.



The term bedder is short for "bedmaker" and is the official term for a housekeeper in a college of the University of Cambridge. The equivalent at the University of Oxford is known as a scout ". The equivalent at Trinity College, Dublin was known as a skip ", until the practice was abandoned in the early 1970s. The colleges of the University of Durham have also replicated the Oxbridge model and refer to housekeeping staff as bedders. There is no equivalent at the vast majority of other British or American universities, though the universities of Princeton, Yale, and Harvard have previously offered similar positions to care for their students needs.


Between maid

A between maid was a female junior domestic worker in a large household with many staff. The position became largely defunct in the 20th century, as few households needed or could afford great retinues of domestic workers with the elaborate hierarchy of the past.


Boot boy

A boot boy, often simply boots, was an English household servant. Usually a boy or young teenager, the boots was the lowest-ranking male servant; his main job was to clean, polish and care for the household members boots and shoes, although he may have done other odd jobs as well, particularly in smaller houses where he may have also performed the duties of the hallboy. One contemporary use of the term appears in Arthur Conan Doyles 1887 Sherlock Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet:" the room.” Chapter VII The term is used in association football, to refer to apprentices looking after the football boots of senior professionals.

Users also searched: