Category: Labour and Migration


Women migrant workers account for more than half of the 50 million migrant workers in Asia Pacific, employed primarily as domestic workers, ‘entertainers’ and factory workers. Domestic work also constitutes the largest driver of labour migration in the region for women. Since domestic work is considered an extension of housework, it is deeply undervalued and women domestic workers are excluded from the current development framework and are marginalised in terms of decent work, living wage, labour rights, and legal protection. The individualisation of domestic work also restrains workers from collective bargaining and assertion of their labour rights. Domestic workers are more vulnerable to exploitation, due to their subordinate status as women and as migrant.


With this context in mind, the Labour and Migration- Breaking out of Marginalisation Programme aims to enhance women migrant workers’ enjoyment of their rights to organise, associate, decent work and make informed choices about migration and labour by:


  • Developing capacity of organisations, associations, networks promoting women’s labour rights to organise in informal sectors and promote rights based perspectives;
  • Building the body of knowledge pertaining to existing laws and policies on labor and democratic rights of women migrant workers;
  • Advocating for labor laws and policies that protect the rights of women workers in the informal sphere, and for the implementation and enforcement of existing international labour standards.


APWLD as co-facilitator of the United for Foreign Domestic Worker Rights (UFDWR) coalition, has been a key contributor to the recognition by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) of the need to recognise domestic work as work. One of our key strategies towards this goal is to centre on domestic workers’ right to organise, and its inclusion in an ILO Convention for Domestic Workers. APWLD believes the right to organise is the one right that can unlock all others. Collective representation is essential for the promotion and protection of worker’s rights and can provide an important voice in policy and legislative debates in international fora. APWLD has been working with member organisations towards ratification of the ILO Convention on Domestic Work (C189) in the region.

Statement: Women’s Groups Oppose World Bank Proposals to Weaken Labour Rights, Protections and Corporate Accountability

9 October 2018 Chiang Mai, Thailand/Bali, Indonesia We, feminist organisations and allies, express opposition and concerns over World Bank’s recent recommendations in the World Development Report 2019, which focuses on increasing flexibilisation of labour...