About Us

Who We Are

We are a membership-based global organization of domestic and household workers. A domestic or household worker is any person engaged in domestic work within an employment relationship. Since its inception as a network in 2006 (the Federation was officially formed in 2013), the IDWF has evolved into a key advocate for the rights of domestic workers globally. We believe domestic work is work, and all domestic and household workers deserve to enjoy the same rights as all other workers.

Our objective is to build a strong, democratic and united domestic/household workers global organization to protect and advance domestic workers’ rights everywhere.

As of March 2022, the IDWF has 85 affiliates from 66 countries, representing over 590,000 domestic/household workers’ members. Most are organized in trade unions and others in associations, networks and workers’ cooperatives.

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OUR HISTORY

The First Domestic Workers International Conference

With the support of the IUF and Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), and the decisive role played by the International Trades Union Confederation (ITUC), the Global Labor Institute (GLI) and ILO, this international networking flourished.
Like other workers, domestic workers began organizing a long time ago in many places of the world. In November 2006, they first came together at an international conference hosted by the FNV Netherlands. Then they formed the idea of building a global network for all the domestic workers.

Convention 189 (C189) on Decent Work for Domestic Workers​

It was at the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva in 2009 that the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN) was launched by leaders of some key domestic workers’ organizations from across the world: the regional network of domestic workers in Latin America and the Caribbean CONLACTRAHO, the Asian Domestic Workers Network (ADWN) in Asia, the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance (NDWA) of the USA, the South African Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union (SADSAWU), Jala-Prt (Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy) in Indonesia, IPROFOTH in Peru, and the National Union of Domestic Employees (NUDE) in Trinidad & Tobago. They formed the first Steering Committee to lead the organization. A team of Coordinators was appointed to carry out programs of activities in the regions and internationally, supported by a technical team formed by representatives of the IUF, WIEGO and GLI.
The main objective then was to mobilize domestic workers’ organizations and their allies worldwide to win an ILO Convention to protect the rights of domestic workers – a goal, clear and specific. In June 2011, the ILO Convention C189 Decent Work for Domestic Workers was won, a huge and historic achievement for domestic workers and the entire labour movement.

From "Network" to "Federation"

After this success, the Steering Committee decided to transform the IDWN from a loose, informal ‘network’ to a formal ‘federation’ of domestic workers’ organizations. Two main tasks were then carried out: to develop a draft Constitution for a global organization of domestic workers and to invite the national or local domestic workers’ member-based organizations already working closely with the IDWN to become formal members.
At a meeting in May 2012, the Steering Committee approved the membership applications of 14 domestic workers’ organizations as the first group of affiliates of the IDWN. Finally, on the 26th – 28th of October 2013, the Founding Congress was held, and the IDWN became the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF). About 180 domestic workers leaders participated in this historic event.
Representatives of some of our long-standing allies and partners were there: the IUF, including many of its affiliates, WIEGO, the ITUC and its regional organization in Latin America, ILO, Human Rights Watch, GLI, etc.

IDWF Affiliation and Registration

The IDWF is affiliated to two other global organizations:

IUF

International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association

Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing