Immigrant women and household work in Finland and Spain: a local comparative analysis between Helsinki and Murcia

  • Encarnación Ruiz Casanova
  • Francisco Maeso Fernández
  • Prudencio José Riquelme Perea
Palabras clave: Immigrant women, household work, labour conditions, labour and immigrant legislation, mujer inmigrante, Trabajo del hogar, condiciones laborales, legislación laboral y de inmigración


This paper compares the situation of immigrant women in the household labour market of Finland and Spain by using semi-structured interviews (in the cities of Helsinki and Murcia). Basic features of the labour and alien laws are stated, being more comprehensive and better enforced in Finland than in Spain. The interviews provide detailed information on the harsh conditions that immigrant women endured in Murcia, mostly due to overtime and the initial lack of social insurance. This contrasts with a formalized and professionalized market in Helsinki. However, on a monthly base, monetary income was lower in Helsinki than in Murcia. Changes in the Spanish alien laws have led immigrant women to register in the social welfare system producing an increase in the transparency in the traditionally opaque household labour market.