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A housekeeper is a woman who does housework in a household for a fee . This includes childcare , food preparation , cleaning or washing clothes.

The origin of the profession is connected with the settling down of people. Since the beginning of written records, there have been written records for servants in the household.

A male equivalent would be the (house) servant . However, since housework was viewed as a female domain for thousands of years , child care and cleaning in the household were not originally male tasks. The profession is therefore dominated by women to this day.

In the past, men often had no knowledge of household chores, so that a man living alone ( bachelor or widower ) was almost always dependent on a housekeeper. The same applied to Catholic pastors , who mostly employed a housekeeper, who was often a relative (sister, niece).

Depending on the size of the household, the housekeeper was not limited to cleaning, washing or cooking, but included monitoring or assigning other domestic workers and accounting for their wages, looking after guests, organizing parties, etc. This was sometimes the case Such an extensive job that the housekeeper only acted as "manager" of the household and only performed managerial and supervisory functions.

Especially in affluent households, this could be a responsible activity that required conscientiousness and discretion on the part of the housekeeper and trust on the part of the employer. In the representative households of the affluent classes, an appropriate appearance and knowledge of etiquette was necessary.

The housekeeper often lived in her employer's household or at least on his property, in contrast to the housekeeper who had another apartment and “went to work”.

Due to changed living conditions and technical innovations in the household such as washing machines or dishwashers since the beginning of modernity , the classic housekeeping is now an increasingly rare profession .

Known housekeepers

See also

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