Event on migrant domestic workers
“No one should work this way” – event on migrant domestic workers, held on 18 November 2014
Domestic work is one of the most important occupations in the low wage sector for women in Asia and the Pacific and the most important occupation for women migrant workers. Due to gendered labour markets in many countries of destination, female migrants are typically channeled into domestic work, even though their qualifications may be higher than the jobs they perform.
In order to highlight the need for implementation of standards to better protect domestic workers and enhance their economic empowerment and decent work opportunities, the Regional Thematic Working Group on International Migration, co-chaired by ESCAP and IOM, organized a side event entitled “No one should work this way. Decent Work for Migrant Domestic Workers” during the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing +20 Review, on 18 November 2014.
The event featured a series of thought-providing presentations, accompanied by a photo exhibition entitled ’Behind Closed Doors’ that displayed domestic workers’ experiences of abuse, by renowned award-winning photographer, Steve McCurry. Karen Emmons highlighted the individual stories of the domestic workers photographed. Bijaya Rai Shrestha, a former domestic worker from Nepal, represented the voice of migrant workers and emphasized the needs and vulnerabilities of migrant workers. Elizabeth Tang, from the International Domestic Workers Federation reflected on how organizing would address some of the exploitative and abusive practices that were outlined in previous presentations. The event was moderated by Thetis Mangahas, Deputy Regional Director, ILO.