March 8, 2015 – New York, NY: For the next two weeks, the United Nations will be the central site for any effort to address gender equality as world governments attend the Commission on the Status of Women: Implementing the Beijing Platform of 1995. At the events, domestic workers from multiple countries will push for adoption of international labor standards and labor projections for domestic workers as central components of any plan for women’s rights in the next twenty years.
In a rare opportunity, representatives of the International Domestic Worker Federation, a global network formed in 2006 representing the 53 million member workforce with 47 affiliates in 43 countries, will take the stage at the historic event to speak to the phenomena of forced labor and common abuse within domestic and care work.
They note that twenty years since governments pledged their commitment to achieving gender equality at the Fourth Women World Conference in Beijing, 70% of the world’s poor are women and women are over-represented in low status, poorly-paid, informal, part-time, insecure and precarious work. Domestic work, paid or unpaid, remains marginalized in social and economic policymaking.
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However, a new trend is emerging among concerned governments. Within the United States, domestic workers have succeeded in passing state-level Bill of Rights in four states and recently moved the Department of Labor to issue new regulations including homecare workers in minimum wage and overtime law.
In Hong Kong, the brave testimony of a starved and battered domestic worker led to the conviction of her abusive employer. In the past four years, and with the United States glaringly absent, seventeen countries have made addressing the abuse of domestic workers (especially vulnerable due to the isolation of their worksite and the rampant abuses of labor trafficking ) a pillar of platforms for women’s equality by adopting the International Labor Organization’s Convention 189. The ILO Convention and enactment of legal rights reforms in some countries has enabled millions of domestic workers to enjoy the rights to minimum wages, social protection and weekly rest.
The International Domestic Worker Federation took to the streets this past Sunday for International Women’s Day and will continue to insist on inclusion within the Commission’s recommendations at events throughout the week.
CSW59 Events with the International Domestic Workers Federation:
Ministerial Roundtable Meeting: Ministerial round table A: “Making the economy work for women and girls”
Venue: UN Conference Room 4, UN Secretariat.
Speakers: Ministers of 25 countries, moderated by Elizabeth Tang of IDWF
Where: Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN, 871 United Nations Plaza, First Avenue at 49th Street, New York, NY 10017