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Title: Valuing women’s labour: Law, empowerment and human rights of migrant filipino domestic workers in Pakistan 11th Asian Law Institute International Conference Law in Asia: Balancing Tradition and Modernization
Authors: Shahid, A
Issue Date: 2014
Citation: Law in Asia: Balancing Tradition and Modernization, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 29-30 May 2014
Abstract: International labour migration has expanded across the globe and is no more confined to migration from Asia to Europe, Americas and oil rich Gulf countries. New regional migration patterns have emerged, creating new labour markets within countries in Asia. Domestic service is an informal labour sector where international labour migration is taking place. Historically, domestic service for others' households has remained a principal way of earning a living for women. Affluent families in the developing as well as developed countries engage both local and migrant women domestic workers. One such example is of migrant Filipino domestic workers (hereafter referred as MFDW) whose services and labour are now also being used in the developing countries in Asia. In recent years Pakistan has become an “employment destination” for MFDW who are being employed by affluent Pakistani households, despite the presence of a large number of Pakistani female domestic workers. As this form of work is performed within the privacy of home, the law has always excluded domestic workers from labour legislation. Traditionally domestic workers have not been included in the definition of the term ‘worker’ and until recently the law has failed to provide any protection to this category of workers against exploitative working conditions. Based on an exploratory small sample qualitative study of the lived experiences of MFDW, this paper addresses the question to what extent the recent UN international human rights and ILO’s labour standards can provide protection and empowerment to MFDW? Whether MFDW have the ability and strength to use these legal frameworks for exercising their right to work and earn a decent livelihood and can the case of MFDW be used as a template to provide a window of opportunity for local domestic workers to be included within the national labour legislation and to receive recognition and legal protection as ‘workers’? By using the feminist concept of ‘woman’s agency’, this paper attempts to make a case for regulating employment conditions and for empowering domestic workers who have been ignored and neglected by the law in the past. It further aims to explore a way forward to implement the rights guaranteed under the evolving modern human rights frameworks.
Appears in Collections:Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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