Program Officer, International Programs Department, Oxfam Canada
Monitoring, Evaluation, and learning Officer, International Programs Department, Oxfam Canada
Oxfam Canada promotes empowerment and advocacy to secure labour rights for women domestic workers in Bangladesh — and this work affects us all.
Recognizing that gender is the most persistent predictor of poverty and powerlessness in our world today, Oxfam Canada and its partners aim to advance women’s rights, promote women’s leadership in their communities, and transform power relationships that entrench inequality and injustice. When a woman is paid a fair and living wage, works in safe and decent working conditions, and has the ability to earn a fair and decent livelihood, she then has the power to lift herself, her family, and her community out of poverty.
Oxfam Canada is on a mission to build lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. We work with communities to champion fairer economies where all forms of women’s work are recognized, fairly paid, and valued.
An unjust labour market
Oxfam Canada and its local partners work to advance the recognition of domestic work in Bangladesh, where a staggering 90 per cent of the country’s 10.5 million domestic workers are women.
I spent a year living and working in Bangladesh and have seen first-hand the nature of this work, how crucial they are to the functioning of day-to-day life in Dhaka, and also the discrimination and mistreatment they can face from employers.
“I spent a year living and working in Bangladesh and have seen first-hand the nature of this work, how crucial they are to the functioning of day-to-day life in Dhaka, and also the discrimination and mistreatment they can face from employers,” says Jennifer Burley, program officer in the international programs department of Oxfam Canada.
Domestic workers in Bangladesh often earn as low as $12 CAD per month which prevents them from fulfilling their basic needs, experience unsafe working conditions and long hours, and face violence in their workplaces and at home.
“Domestic workers in Bangladesh are often faced with multiple intersecting inequalities and are without any labour and social protections afforded to other workers in more formalized sectors,” says Richa Sharma, monitoring, evaluation, and learning officer in the international programs department of Oxfam Canada.
Building a more just world
Oxfam Canada is on a mission to change this through its Securing Rights project, funded by the Government of Canada.
The project developed a curriculum for life and occupational skills for domestic workers accredited by the government for the first time in Bangladesh’s history. Securing Rights is using this accredited curriculum to train 16,000 domestic workers, aiming to increase their understanding and ability to advocate for their rights, along with their negotiating power and skills, resulting in better wages and conditions. Securing Rights also advocates for the Government of Bangladesh to implement the Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy, which it adopted in 2015.
Ending global poverty begins with women’s rights. To create more just societies around the world, all of us must contribute to building economies that work with and for women.
Learn more and donate to Oxfam Canada today at oxfam.ca to support this important work.