IT all started with a tweet by a fashion designer who found the “yaya meals” being served at the exclusive Balesin Island Club as “offensive.”

Beyond the “yaya meals” issue, however, is something deeper.

“The yaya phenomenon — women leaving their families to care for the children of others — has been with us a long time. Since at least the 19th century, Filipino women have ventured outside their native villages to go to towns and cities to work as servants for the more affluent. They were often compelled to do so by poverty, a lack of other opportunities, and a desire to help their families. There was, of course, also the lure of the big town or city.” – The Yaya Sisterhood, PCIJ iReport June 2005 issue

Scroll down to the bottom of page for the link to the iReport article.

1 Response to Yaya meals, yaya’s ordeals


Luz Martinez

April 13th, 2015 at 2:36 pm

This article caught my attention because this issue of yayas interesting. The reactions people have to anything about yayas ranges from the defensive, to what’s the problem?
First of all, the translation of yaya to nanny is not accurate. I find that families who have yayas seem to think they are in the same league as those who can afford nannies. A nanny is a profession. Usually they are women (some men) who are highly trained. To be a nanny you must have a bachelor’s degree as a minimum but most have masters degree in education, child development, psychology, etc. Requirement for nanny’s is to have at least 2 language usually English with French, Spanish or any of the major languages. Nannies are highly paid and are often found in the homes of the very wealthy and global elite.

A yaya is often a poor, teenage girl from the province who is saddled with all the dirty part of childcare. She may have a high school degree and is mostly underpaid for all the work and responsibility that is placed on her. Their care does not necessarily include academic or developmental work for the child. So that in itself disqualifies them from being called nannies. Yaya’s are the equivalent of a baby sitter who lives with the child. They are ‘live in baby sitters’.

The meals they are being served in a high end resort is the least of their problems. Lets look at their hours of work. Most of these girls are with their ward 24/7 except for the days they are off. Their work is to do almost everything for the child. Their authority is limited and they are dragged along to family event and outings so that they may have a constant eye on the child. For all the work they do their wages range 3000-4000 pesos per month. If you break this down to an hourly wage, these girls are being paid slave wages. So lets get outraged on the read issues of the millions of girls/women whose labor is exploited.

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