International Meeting on Child Care and Social Protection for Informal Workers

The Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO together with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, hosted a three-day international meeting on “Child Care and Social Protection for Informal Workers” at the Garden Court Marine Parade Hotel from the 1st – 3rd November 2017, in Durban, South Africa.

The Asiye eTafuleni Association (AeT) provided a tour for participants of Warwick Junction, a market and major transport hub in central Durban. The Warwick Junction Urban Renewal Project received domestic and international acclaim for its active support of street traders in urban planning.

Participants at WIEGO, FES International meeting

The main objective of the meeting was to create a space to share and strategise for improved child care services for informal and formal workers.  The absence of child care services is an obstacle to decent livelihoods for women workers around the world.  Women workers take on a disproportionate responsibility for child care due to gender norms resulting in lower earnings, more flexible and vulnerable work, and limited or no access to social protection. 

Bringing together workers from across Africa, Asia and Latin America, the meeting sought to strengthen the voice of women informal workers and their ongoing struggles for public child care services.  Women informal workers came from member-based organisations across three sectors – home-based workers, street traders and market vendors, and domestic workers.  Global Unions were represented at the meeting including International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF) and Public Service International (PSI), along with representatives from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and UNICEF Innocenti Research Cente.

2018 promises to see care issues gain more visibility on global, national and local agendas.  The individual MBO work plans fleshed out during the meeting can help to generate national and local level momentum for quality public child care services.  The ITUC and the ILO will respectively be holding global conferences on the care economy which will be important spaces for informal workers to engage in.

The International Domestic Workers Federation will be hosting its first congress in November 2018 to strengthen the voice and visibility of domestic workers, many of whom take care of their employers’ children, though they themselves lack access to quality child care services for their own children.    

WIEGO will continue to promote the child care campaign through informal workers organisations and global networks.  WIEGO also encourages trade unions in the formal sector to sign on to the campaign.  

Child care campaign materials are available in six different languages: http://www.wiego.org/wiego/wiego-child-care-campaign

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