Guarantee decent working conditions for all: WOREC

Kathmandu, May 1

On the occasion of International Workers’ Day, Women Rehabilitation Centre today urged the government to ensure decent working conditions for all workers.

Issuing a press statement, WOREC said female labour force participation remains one of highest (80.4 per cent) among South Asian countries, but Nepali women continue to struggle to establish themselves as workers.

“Women’s work, especially their care and domestic work, remains largely invisible and unrecognised as well as unequal wages, long working hours, workplace discrimination, exploitation, and abuses remain major problems of women workers, especially among those working in the informal sector, which includes entertainment and domestic work,” it said.

“We urge government to develop and revise migration policies promoting the right to work based on equality and freedom,” it further said, adding, “We also want government to ensure that these migration policies are gender sensitive and protect migrant workers at home, in transit and abroad.”

It said many Nepali women migrant workers remain susceptible to exploitation, abuses and trafficking, although their decision to migrate also represents their independence, strength and self-determination.

“Their vulnerability is closely linked to negative societal views on women’s mobility reinforced by government policies, which have forced women to adopt clandestine measures for migration, making them more vulnerable to fraudulent practices, trafficking and trafficking-like conditions,” it said.

According to a report published by National Human Rights Commission, around 16,500 Nepali citizens, mostly unmarried women and children, were trafficked in the past two years alone, mostly in the context of false marriages and fraudulent foreign employment.

It stated that everyone has the right to decent work, regardless of gender, which has been enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 23) and the constitution.

However, women continue to struggle and their work is rarely valued.

“Women make up 40 percent of the global workforce, yet are still earning significantly less than their male counterparts in every country,” it said, adding, “A vast majority of women still struggle for recognition of their work as decent work and continue to face discrimination and injustice.”

WOREC further asked government to ratify ILO Convention concerning decent work for domestic workers.