Recognising Domestic Workers' Contributions: Building A Fairer Future  - Eastern Mirror
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Recognising Domestic Workers’ Contributions: Building a Fairer Future 

By EMN Updated: Jun 16, 2024 12:42 am

Before first light, the day for Ari had already begun. With extreme care, she would tidy up houses, prepare food with love, and take care of children and the elderly as if they were part of her own family. Ari is a domestic worker—one of the countless persons whose daily, dedicated, and tireless commitment to an activity runs like clockwork and quietly supports people’s lives. However, domestic workers, such as Ari, remain invisible, and their struggles go unheard, despite their immense contributions to keeping houses running smoothly and really forming the backbone of most families’ lives.

Invaluable Contribution of Domestic Workers

On a daily basis, domestic workers create safe, clean, and nurturing environments that enable families to chase their dreams and pursue their careers without worry. They do more than just household chores; they create homes. In most cases, the relationship developed by the domestic worker with the family is deep: they offer emotional support and care outside of the work they have to do. Domestic workers are these quiet caregivers who enable others to thrive.

Challenges Faced by Domestic Workers

Despite their critical role, domestic workers face many challenges:

1. Lack of Legal Protection: Most domestic workers operate in a legal grey area without minimal protection from exploitation. This vulnerability leaves them open to unfair wages, excessive hours, and unsafe working conditions.

2. Social Stigma: In most instances, domestic work is viewed as a low-skilled job with less value attached to it. This level of stigma can often lead to a lack of respect and hampers the way society treats them, thus depriving the domestic workers of their dignity.

3. Limited Access to Education and Training: Without access to education and vocational training, many domestic workers remain locked in a cycle of poor opportunity and economic instability.

4. Health Risk: The work of domestic work, coupled with the lack of access to health care, is physically demanding and contains a lot of health hazards. Most of them are not covered by health insurance and other benefits attached to their job, making them more vulnerable to health issues.

These challenges must be urgently and collectively addressed through:

Legal Reforms: Governments need to extend labour protections to domestic workers, including provisions for fair remuneration, reasonable working hours, and safe working conditions. The ratification of key international conventions, such as the ILO Domestic Workers Convention (C189), is a step in providing much-needed legal protection.

Awareness Raising: The stigmatisation of domestic work needs to be tackled at the societal level. Awareness-raising campaigns can help to sensitise the public to the value of domestic work and create a culture of respect and appreciation for such work.

Empowerment Through Education: Access to education and training is important for domestic workers. Tailored programs that meet their needs, including language training, financial literacy training, and professional certification, will empower them to have more opportunities.

Respectful Relationships: Employers need to have respectful and equitable relationships with their workers. Recognising the domestic worker’s contribution, providing fair pay and a clean and safe working environment are fundamental. Open communication and mutual respect is key.

Creating a Fairer Future

A fairer future for domestic workers is not a luxury but rather a moral imperative. Their immense value and the systemic challenges they face are finally recognised, and society can right this wrong to build a world that values and protects each of its members. Domestic workers deserve to be seen, heard, and valued for the crucial role they play in our lives.

Ari’s story is a story of a call to action to us. It is a reminder of the hidden figures that make our lives easy, often at the cost of their own personal pains and sorrows. Let us acknowledge their work and commit ourselves to a future where domestic workers can live and work with the dignity and respect they deserve. Only then will we be able to call ourselves a truly fair society, where every contribution is valued and every worker is protected.

Longtili C Sangtam

By EMN Updated: Jun 16, 2024 12:42:11 am
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