Marthas are a class of women in the Republic of Gilead. They serve as domestic servants to wealthy or high-ranking families.
Marthas usually wear green outfits, often with an apron over the top. When they go outside, they wear green veils..
In the television series, their dresses are depicted as very dull shade of green. They also wear headscarves to cover their hair.
Marthas serve as servants and housekeepers. Most Marthas seem to be infertile, low-ranking and unmarried women. It is also implied that many Marthas are ethnic minorities, such as Latino or possibly African American, due to Gilead's discrimination against such groups. In the television series, Rita herself is played by a minority actress. They clean the houses of higher-ranking families, cook meals, go shopping and serve meals. Marthas are sometimes assisted in their tasks by Handmaids, if one is assigned to their household. They provide food for the Handmaids too.
Marthas often gossip amongst each other and are usually quite friendly with each other. They can be somewhat judgemental and derogative towards Handmaids, though. If the Wife they serve has children, then Marthas may help in the raising of the children, acting as a nanny. Many Marthas look forward to this, as it may be the only chance they will have to raise a child as if it were their own.
It is implied by Offred that if a Martha lives passed her prime she is sent to The Colonies, where she is ensured certain death.