Domestic Work in Hong Kong: the Intersection of Gender, Space and Labour

Project: Research project

Project Details


Over the last century, the world has seen a progression towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. As stated in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, ‘gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessity for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world’. Equal access to education, financial independence, and opportunities at work are paramount in ensuring women become equal members of society. This project aims to address inequality starting in the home, where unpaid work is often the invisible labour that keeps households running. This research aims to highlight and explore domestic work in Hong Kong through the intersection of gender, labour, and space.

The project will be the first study dedicated to Hong Kong’s domestic labour using design research methodologies, spatial design visualisations, and ethnographic fieldwork. Existing research on domestic labour is often disseminated within text-based scholarship in sociology, labour studies, and gender studies. However, the topic has yet to be explored and visualised in a three-dimensional way through spatial design and an intersected consideration of gender, labour and space. This research and its methodology will make original contributions to an invaluable sector in the city’s functioning and well-being of its people, through lived experiences and spaces. The scope of the research focuses on paid and unpaid domestic labour by local women and foreign domestic helpers, and it will be disseminated through a scholarly monograph, a digital database, a podcast series and two collaborative events with Hong Kong-based NGOs.

This project will produce three strands of knowledge specific to the outputs. The first explores the domestic work sector in Hong Kong, and how it is connected to the global political economy and its local and global impacts, disseminated through a scholarly monograph. The second focuses on the spatial dimensions of the topic, interlinking urban space and domesticity through spatial visualisations, diagrams, and photographs that will be available on a website. This digital database aims to add a spatial aspect to existing knowledge that is often unseen and underexplored. The third will give poetic detail to the human dimension of this topic, featuring migrant domestic workers and local women who participate in domestic work, through a podcast series that gives a platform for their experiences and stories to be told and heard. Overall, the project offers powerful and interesting insights on the economic impact and the socio-spatial experience of women participating in paid and unpaid domestic work in Hong Kong.

Effective start/end date1/01/2231/08/24


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