International Women’s Day: Unveiling Invisible Work  

EFFAT Urgently Appeals to Acknowledge Unpaid Domestic Work for the Collective Benefit of Women 

International Women’s Day (IWD) serves as a platform to expose persisting gender disparities. This year, EFFAT focuses on a critical issue – unpaid Domestic and Care Work. 

Unpaid domestic and care work, predominantly undertaken by women worldwide, is a complex web of responsibilities woven by gendered societal norms which not only perpetuate stereotypes, but also contribute significantly to the gender pay gap, work-life imbalance, and overall gender inequality. 

 EFFAT stresses that it is imperative to recognise unpaid domestic and care work as a discriminatory facet of women’s contribution to society. This burden extends beyond the household, impacting women’s access to quality jobs and sustaining discriminatory practices in the workplace. Women are often employed in precarious jobs (i.e. temporary and part-time jobs) because of the care and domestic tasks they have to perform. This precariousness of employment exacerbates situations of economic dependence – which can be a breeding ground for domestic violence as well as gender-based violence at work. 

EFFAT strongly urges governments and employers to acknowledge that domestic and care work is a legitimate occupation crucial to our societies, moving away from the outdated notion of it being exclusively a “female activity.” The ratification and implementation of ILO Convention C189 for decent work for Domestic Workers are decisive steps towards recognising the fundamental rights of domestic workers and the essential need for quality domestic care and services.  

 As the demand for domestic work increases, EFFAT calls for increased formalisation and accessibility of quality public and private care and household services, with the aim of eliminating unpaid and undeclared domestic work. This initiative is part of the overall objective of eradicating inequality and discrimination between men and women in the world of work. 

 EFFAT’s demands extend to the prompt enforcement of pay transparency and work-life balance directives in all EU member states. In addition, it is crucial to promote and increase women’s participation in collective bargaining. EFFAT strives to develop a gender equal working environment by actively promoting gender inclusion and equality in agreements and regulations, and by ensuring the eradication of gender-based violence at the workplace. 

On this International Women’s Day, EFFAT calls to redefine unpaid domestic and care work as essential, propelling women towards a future where equality prevails over entrenched gender norms.