Our new report ‘Domestic and Care Workers in Europe: An Intersectional Issue’ showcases the diverse reality of domestic and care workers in Europe as a gender equality issue, from an intersectional perspective.
The discussions around equality and non-discrimination often revolve around a given ground for discrimination, such as gender or ethnic origin. However, looking at these together, through an intersectional approach, allows us to look at power relations, and examine the experiences of individuals or groups whose identities and backgrounds place them in particularly vulnerable positions. Domestic and care workers across the world fall into that category:: according to the International Labor Organization, about 76% of these workers are women. In Europe, a significant proportion of these workers have a migrant background. In addition, different labour regulations often leave these workers with little to no protection, creating a cycle of precarity and exploitation. Domestic and care work is often informal and undervalued, underpaid, or not paid at all. The COVID-19 pandemic unearthed many social inequalities and the essential nature of some services. However, the situation of domestic and care workers remained largely invisible. It is time to spotlight this issue, which we aim to do in our new report.
The new Equinet report Domestic and Care Workers in Europe: An Intersectional Issue was written by the Working Group on Gender Equality, and based on statistical data collected from 11 European countries in 2021. The report showcases the diverse reality of domestic and care workers in Europe as a gender equality issue, from an intersectional perspective. It also analyses the international legal framework to better understand the protections (or lack thereof) extended to these workers. Finally, the report calls for all stakeholders involved at EU and national level, including equality bodies, to take urgent action to tackle the gender care gap, and to address gender discrimination in the care economy and the care sector.