The Caribbean Domestic Workers Network (CDWN) is proud to pledge unwavering support for the inaugural celebration of the International Day of Care and Support, a United Nations Day of observance dedicated to recognizing the vital contributions of workers in the Care Economy. This significant day recognizing the Care Economy will be celebrated each year on the 29th of October and provides an opportunity to recognize and honor the invaluable contributions of domestic workers who play a pivotal role in caring for households, children, and the elderly in our communities.
The CDWN joins its global partner, the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) in emphasizing the central role of domestic workers in the Care Economy. Despite our vital role in the functioning of households, making all other jobs possible, paid domestic work is undervalued and invisible. It is the lowest paid feminized profession with the least access to social protection, with simultaneously, the highest rates of informality and the most exposure to occupational risks, violence, and harassment. The Covid-19 pandemic also showed the world that domestic workers are essential workers.
Shirley Pryce, Chairperson of the CDWN, expressed her sentiments, saying, “Domestic workers are the backbone of many households in the Caribbean. They work with dedication, often without the recognition they deserve. The International Day of Care and Support is an occasion to honor their contributions and ensure they receive the respect, fair wages, and working conditions they so rightfully deserve.”
Shirley Pryce, chairperson, Caribbean Domestic Workers Network (CDWN)
Domestic workers represent 25% of the care workforce worldwide (almost 250 million women of which over 500,000 are in the Caribbean), providing both direct and indirect care services: caring for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, as well as cleaning, laundry, and cooking, among other tasks. They are care workers and skilled workers.
We are facing an imminent care crisis. The ILO estimates that 2.3 billion people will need care services by 2030. Population growth, aging societies, new family structures, the role of women in the labor market, and deficiencies in social policies require urgent measures to ensure the well-being of the population and decent work for care providers.
Elaine Duncan, IDWF Executive Committee member for the Caribbean stated emphatically, “This crisis can only be mitigated through the development of comprehensive care systems and implementation of transformative policies that ensure labor rights, human rights, gender equity, autonomy, and well-being for both care recipients and caregivers.”
On the International Day of Care and Support, the Caribbean Domestic Workers Network joins the IDWF and calls on decision-makers and all actors in society to:
- Recognize domestic workers as part of the care workforce.
- Ensure decent work and fair remuneration for domestic workers as care workers, in line with C189.
- Ensure access to quality public care services for domestic workers and their families.
- Ensure the right to social protection for domestic workers.
- Guarantee occupational health and safety for domestic workers.
- Protect migrant domestic workers, who make up a high percentage of care workers and are often excluded from labor protection, exploited, and victims of various abuses.
- Combat violence, discrimination, and stereotypes related to care work.
- Promote freedom of association, social dialogue, and collective bargaining for the sector.
- Encourage training, professional development, and recognition of domestic workers’ skills.
- Ensure the representativeness of domestic workers in decision-making processes related to the care economy and include them in the public care agendas. Nothing for us without us!
The Caribbean Domestic Workers Network invites everyone to stand in solidarity and appreciation of domestic workers and grassroots women on the International Day of Care and Support and throughout the year. Together, we can work towards a more just and equitable society where the contributions of domestic workers are recognized, respected, and valued.
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