Gender-Based Violence, Violence Against Women at Work, and the Transnational Movement for Paid Domestic Workers’ Rights

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Daniela CHERUBINI, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy
The paper will focus on the transnational movement for paid care & domestic workers’ rights, as a key social movement that addresses structural violence and intersecting inequalities embedded in the unfair distribution of care and reproductive work, at the local and global level.

The analysis will draw on the comparative research project “DomEQUAL: A global approach to paid domestic work and social inequalities” (2016-2020), which explores the transformations in the rights and the collective actions of paid domestic workers in nine countries (Spain, Italy, German, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, India, Philippines and Taiwan), from the 1950s up to now.

Drawing on the first empirical findings, we will discuss how the issues of gender-based violence and violence in the workplace are addressed by the paid domestic workers’ organizations in different countries and at the transnational level. We will look at different strategies aimed at overcoming the invisibility of PDWs as objects of systemic violence, based on hierarchical power relations and on the subordination of racialized, gendered and sexualized subjects and bodies. We will also look at the alliances, or the gaps and silences, taking place between paid domestic workers’ movements and feminist movements, across different settings.

The “domestic” and the “work” spheres are often framed as separate fields in the academic and political discourse on violence against women. The voice of paid domestic workers’ organizations, as well as the new visibility of the issue in the agenda of international organizations (e.g. the International Labour Organization roadmap towards the Convention on violence and harassment at work) are blurring this line, suggesting the need for further analysis on these issues.