Building women workers' power through organizing

By: Morna Ballantyne, Child Care campaigner PSAC/CCAAC, Canadian Trade Union Delegaion

The only way for women workers to build power is to organize, said Jill Shenker, international organizing and field director with the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) in the United States, and one of three panelists at a session on mobilizing collective action for women’s economic empowerment organized by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Solidarity Center and the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID).

Shenker recounted the expansion of NDWA across the United States through community organizing and building on-the-ground capacity of domestic workers to push for legislative protections. She said it took persistent work over a decade but important breakthroughs have been won in several states and international organizing of domestic workers resulted in the first-ever ILO convention and accompanying Recommendation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

Shenker spoke of the important alliances that have formed between domestic workers and some of their (private) employers noting that some have voluntarily agreed to comply with at least some aspects of the ILO convention. 

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