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Op-Ed: Empowering Women Workers for a better ASEAN

Monday, July 10, 2017

The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) form an economic powerhouse. The ASEAN Economic Community is now the world’s seventh-largest economy and third-largest labour force, with enormous potential for further growth. But to maximize growth, the region needs to ensure that its labour force is diversified and ready to adapt, expand and move freely. Currently, the ASEAN region is a hotspot for labour migration. It hosts a reported 9.9... More

ASEAN to build an inclusive community for women migrant workers with renewed political will and gender-responsive policies

Friday, July 7, 2017

Women migrant workers of ASEAN contribute significantly to the region’s economies. Yet many obstacles remain which must be removed to ensure their equal participation in and benefit from ASEAN economic growth and development. The ASEAN High-level Policy Dialogue on Women Migrant Workers in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) concluded with the participation of senior officials from labour, gender, trade and foreign affairs of ASEAN Member... More

India: Training of trainers seeks to ensure safe migration for women domestic workers

Thursday, May 11, 2017

“If only I could speak English and was trained in basic housekeeping skills, I would have had the freedom to negotiate better pay for my skills and services with my employer abroad”. Lakshmi, from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, echoes the sentiment of thousands of women domestic workers migrating to the Gulf countries each year. She first travelled to the region nearly 15 years ago, working as a domestic help in households in Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain. She visits her home in... More

UN Women Cambodia launches study on working conditions and attitudes experienced by domestic workers

Friday, April 14, 2017

Domestic work, a sector that predominantly employs women, is regularly excluded from national minimum wage protection, a recent joint UN Women and International Labour Organization (ILO) study finds. Many domestic workers earn far less than the minimum wage. “No one is born literate. Everyone was born the earn knowledge during their life.” In a crowd-silencing anecdote of Kyek, a 28-year-old domestic worker from Myanmar, UN Women... More

For female migrant workers, problems can begin at home

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

From the very outset, Myint's search for work to support her family had to be conducted outside the law. Like thousands before her, the frightened young woman from Myanmar was recruited by a Yangon labor agency in defiance of a temporary ban enacted by the military government in 2014 on domestic workers seeking jobs overseas. With no means to check the reliability of the agency or the two-year contract it offered, she fled her job when she was forced to... More

Domestic worker rights video gets a staggering 15 million views in just one week

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The International Organization for Migration (IOM - UN Migration Agency) and the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) video Open Doors: Singapore has become an overnight sensation in Asia. The video, aimed at preventing the exploitation of domestic workers, was viewed more than 15 million times over the past week. Produced by IOM and USAID's innovative counter-trafficking campaign, IOM X, and in partnership with ASEAN and UN Women, Open Doors: Singapore tells the... More

Maid about the house

Monday, January 16, 2017

In Thailand, as in other countries of the region, employing domestic workers has long been a cultural and social practice as much as an economic one. In the past, such jobs were routinely filled by girls from the provinces and while often overworked and grossly underpaid, they were usually absorbed into the family, which provided them with some kind of security away... More

Domestic help better off as 'not in family'

Monday, January 16, 2017

Treating domestic workers as if they are "part of the family" may lead to attitudes that are likely to be detrimental to them, a United Nations (UN) Women study has found. In the study released on Tuesday in Bangkok, focusing on migrant domestic workers in Thailand and Malaysia, researchers noted that many employers referred to their live-in domestic workers as "helpers" or as "aunties" and likened them to "family members". While these terms... More

Ensuring dignity of female migrant workers

Friday, December 23, 2016

Today marks the international day for migrant workers. It is a day not only to celebrate the contribution of women and men who go to distant lands, away from their family and loved ones for long periods of time, it is also a day of reckoning of how best we, as a nation, can protect and promote the rights of those workers. This becomes imperative, as the nation as a whole is beneficiary of their labour and promoting 'safe migration' is an avowed policy of the state. Women constitute almost... More

UN Women to launch research publication on the state of migrant domestic workers in Thailand and Malaysia entitled, “Worker, Helper, Auntie, Maid?”

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

With domestic work being increasingly taken over by migrants, domestic workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia are finally finding their way into the private households in Thailand and Malaysia. These housekeepers, nannies and caregivers are often caught between immigration law and employment law and excluded from labour rights and protections. ... More

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