Invisible Workers: Case of Home-Based Women Workers in Pakistan

University essay from Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen

Author: Kazim Raza; [2010]

Keywords: Law and Political Science;

Abstract: Home based work is considered as work with low economic value and low waged. The Home base work is also preserved to be a principal way to earn a living for women. The traditional home based works for instance thread making, weaving, dairying, basket making etc., were such kind of work which carried out at home, still exists particularly in developing countries. Since a huge number of home base workers are women, the work performed by them is further undervalued. Furthermore, it is also categorized as a contributory economic activity and is underestimated. The studies show that in Pakistan, a large number of women engaged in home base work. The ILO’s country director points out that, Pakistan is considered to be a one of the Asian countries that have huge number of women involved in home-based work. According to Labour Force Survey 2008-9, in Pakistan there are more than 10 million women engaged in home base work in different industries. The home based women contribute a major share in economy but, these women do not have any legal and social protection and even these workers are out of scope of labour legislation of Pakistan. The Industrial Relation Ordinance 2002 (IRO 2002) (interim IRA 2008) and Factories Act 1934 does not recognizes as home base workers as ‘workers’ and some of the provisions of these laws hinders to fundamental labour rights which is violation of international labour standards. Consequently, these home base workers do not have right to freedom of association for collective bargain. Therefore, they do not have any access to social security benefit, they have to work long hours for low remunerations and have no safety and health standards at their work places. The home based workers should be recognized as workers. It is state’s responsibility to protect and respect all of workers including home base workers and the government of Pakistan must fulfill its obligation as according to international human and labour rights instruments.

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