Domestic Workers' Leadership for Empowerment

Economic and Employment Rights: Advancing Domestic Workers' Leadership

Domestic Workers organizing in Jamaica

Building on Success

Under the first Women’s Economic Empowerment project (2009-12), WIEGO supported the formation of the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN). The IDWN led an international campaign for the recognition of domestic workers -- and won the historic adoption of Convention 189 and its accompanying Recommendation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers at the International Labour Conference (ILC) in 2011. This was a leap forward for the 50–100 million people worldwide who work in the homes of their employers. Learn more about this victory and WIEGO's role in it.

In 2013, the IDWN became the International Domestic Workers' Federation (IDWF) at its Founding Congress, which was supported by this project. Read A Federation is Born.

C189 is an exciting beginning – it provides strong guidance for how laws and policies should protect domestic workers. But a substantial gap exists between the Convention’s stipulations and the realities in most countries. But progress is being made. Domestic workers in Malaysia and Taiwan, for example, achieved the right to overtime pay while in Singapore, domestic workers gained the right to take time off to rest. In the USA, the governor of California has signed a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. However, there is much still to be done.


C189 Ratifications

The campaign for domestic worker’s rights continues to focus on ratification of C189 – the map below shows which countries have ratified it – and its implementation through enactment of national policies and legislation to ensure rights are enshrined at the national level.

See ratification by countries of Domestic Workers' Convention (C189)

Interactive Map: View countries that have Ratified C189
(View C189 Ratification in a larger map)

Project Objectives

  • to strengthen the International Domestic Worker’s Network (IDWN) and associated networks and organizations
  • to strengthen the domestic worker movement through a global congress for networking, information sharing and joint planning
  • to enhance the economic empowerment of domestic workers
  • to enhance leadership among domestic workers’ groups
  • to achieve decent work for domestic workers in all the 15 countries through improved national polices and/or legislation, and lead to ratification of ILO Convention 189 (C189) in at least six countries

At the project’s end in 2015, it is anticipated that the IDWN will be self-sustaining (through member fees, fund-raising capabilities and service delivery).

Countries of Project Activity

  • Asia: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal
  • Africa: Benin, Guinea, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania
  • Latin America & Caribbean: Brazil, Chile, Jamaica, Peru, Uruguay

Project Partners

The project will be managed and supported jointly by the IDWF team of regional and international coordinators and WIEGO’s major partner and sub-grantee in the project, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), which worked closely with WIEGO in the creation of the IDWN (now the IDWF).

More News

To see the latest news items on this domestic workers from around the globe, visit WIEGO's News & Events.