Ten years since winning C189: Domestic workers become an unstoppable movement

C189 is ours. It was not won for us. We won it, and we have to guard it and use it.

Yes, we are excited by all the ratifications we have achieved. But there is still a lot of work to do to turn the paper into reality, to make sure all its clauses benefit all domestic workers. We have to make C189 available in a language that all domestic workers can understand and then use to fight for their rights to be respected.

With our federation we have also made history: women-led, growing rapidly and making big progress for some of the most marginalized workers. And we are so grateful to all the organizations supporting us, especially WIEGO and the IUF.

COVID-19 put a stop to a lot of our activities, but we have also learned things. We have entered a digital world where domestic workers communicate and collaborate in new ways, more than ever. They are saying ‘My phone is not my employer’s. It is my freedom’.

There is so much more in the pipeline we want to do, of course. So we must continue to support each other, stay strong and carry on.

Myrtle Witbooi, President International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF)

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