Former Maid Creates Hashtag to Help Maids Share Stories of Racist Work Conditions
Joyce Fernandez/Facebook

Former house maid Joyce Fernandes was sick and tired of being told she was “born to be a maid.”

For years, the Brazilian cleaning lady worked in unfathomable, racist working conditions to make ends meet. Once told, “Joyce, you were hired to cook for my family, not for yourself. Please bring a packed lunch and some cutlery and, if possible, eat before us at the kitchen table,” she had had enough. 

Now working as a history teacher and aspiring rapper, Fernandes hasn’t forgotten her life as maid in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and felt inspired to give other “hired help” a voice and place to share their stories. Thus, Joyce’s experiences “encouraged [her] to create the hashtag #EuEmpregadaDoméstica (I Housemaid) to try to get domestic workers in Brazil to share their own stories.”

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According to the BBC, Joyce says that “the campaign gained momentum after she posted on her personal Facebook page about her experiences as a maid.”

“I was shocked by the amount of comments. I got so many notifications on my phone! Then I created a Facebook page just to share these stories,” says Joyce. “I want to expose what is being swept under the carpet. We must humanize the relationship between employers and employees. Often these women have to internalize aggression and oppression. This is wrong.”

Click here to read Joyce Fernandes’ full story and journey to expose oppressed women in her country.

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