Friday, October 30, 2015

The role of culture and religion: constructively addressing ‘the elephant in the room 2/4

For many, faith is a source of strength, solace and learning. In many non‐Western societies, faith is inseparably intertwined with other aspects of life, including politics and development.
Religion plays an important role in shaping and influencing societal values, thus putting religious and faith leaders in positions of considerable authority and power. Separating religion and development is therefore both unproductive13 and unrealistic.
In particular, faith directly influences societal attitudes and behaviour towards women. Through centuries, women have played a significant role in furthering their faith with many women becoming martyrs and thinkers. However, women’s role in society is still undermined by the abuse and violence exercised against them. Instead of being part of the problem, faith can, and should, be part of the solution:
It is impossible to say you are committed to the poor and not know that two-thirds of the hungry of the world are women who get only the leftovers after their husband and children have eaten; two-thirds of the illiterate of the world are women enslaved by their lack of education as the chattel of men; two-thirds of the poorest of the poor, according to UN statistics, are women. And all of them ignored, rejected and omitted even from the language and the official theological development of the church. So much for life, so much for baptism. It is simply impossible to be really committed to the poor and not devote yourself to doing something to change the role and status of women in the world.
– Sister Joan Chittister OSB14
Given that half of religious followers are women, faith leaders have a responsibility to take a proactive position on issues such as violence against women and girls, encouraging the education of women and girls and ensuring that their rights are protected. Sister Joan Chittister insists that a patriarchal system is a system that is helpful to neither men nor women.15 In order to change the situation of women, it is important to change people’s perceptions.
An example of a successful model for such work is one of Progressio’s projects in Yemen, which works with organisations such as Half of Society in order to tackle the root causes of inequality and exclusion of women. The project advocates for women’s rights among broad sectors of society targeting some 25,000 women in two districts. Hanan Omar, head of the Half of Society NGO, said:
We need to change the negative attitudes towards women that they are not only wives, mothers or sisters, but also partners in the development process… Islamic Sharia ensured all civil rights for women but customs and traditions prevented enjoyment of those rights.
So we need to enforce laws and legislation guaranteeing both men and women’s rights together, as opposed to the prevailing situation, and this includes addressing women’s rights with regard to inheritance and rights in polygamous marriages... The absence of laws that protect women contributes to the further violation of their rights.16
Certain conservative religious sectors refuse to accept women’s contributions to their own societies, outside of the household. In post-conflict societies, this becomes more apparent given the weakness of governance structures responding to the needs of the population and the lack of political participation of women in those structures.
Religion could play a transformative role in changing behaviour and stereotypes. Faith leaders could support efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls by denouncing and condemning harmful practices. And faith leaders can become a catalyst for change by openly acknowledging and appreciating the contribution of women to their societies in terms of development and leadership. They can also be very influential in pressing for legal and policy reforms that address women’s inequality at local, national, regional and international level.
The ultimate goal is helping people to overcome barriers in order to enable them to speak with their own voice. Fragile states should support or adapt such methods which aim at overcoming structural barriers that keep women suppressed, given that there is a link between women, exclusion and poverty.

Authors: Lizzette Robleto-Gonzalez and Fatima Haase For further information, please contact: Lizzette Robleto-Gonzalez, policy officer on women and fragile states, Media enquiries: Esther Trewinnard,
Women and fragile states: Empowered women must be active participants in decision-making
Progressio policy briefing for the post-2015 discussions

13 Van Ommering, E, 2009, The roles of faith-based educational institutions in conflict transformation in fragile states, ICCO Alliance Working Group Religion and Education, icco%20alliance%20research%20report%20fbeis%20and%20conflict%20transformation%20in%20fragile%20states%20 -%20erik%20van%20ommering.pdf
14 Quoted in Justice and Peace Scotland magazine, Issue 3: 2013, p 9, Magazine/2013_issue3_jun.pdf
15 A conversation with Sr Joan Chittister, On women and progress in religion, 16 Quoted in Kim, D, 2012, Women’s rights in Yemen: Fighting discrimination against women, Progressio blog, http://www.

Leer más...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Women’s participation and poverty in fragile states 1/4

Half of the world’s poor already live in fragile and conflict-affected states – and the proportion is increasing.1 Fragile states often lack the structures and capacity to carry out basic governance functions.2 This in turn means that poverty cannot be addressed and the poorest stay poor: according to the OECD, “The fight against poverty is slower in fragile states than elsewhere.”3 In more concrete terms, as of 2011, no fragile state had yet achieved a single MDG goal.4 

It is a well-known fact that poverty affects mostly women. 60% of the world’s hungry are women.5
 Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half of the world’s food, but earn only 10% of the world’s income and own less than one percent of the world’s property.6 Women’s rights are often neglected and ignored – and this is particularly the case in fragile states. Women in Yemen, for example, have one-fiftieth of the level of political empowerment of men; and overall, Yemen is ranked last (out of 136 countries) in terms of women’s levels of education, health, political and economic participation compared to men.7
Poverty and state fragility are caused, or made worse, by unjust and ineffective structures and practices. Progressio therefore focuses on the barriers that keep women poor and prevent them from realising their rights.
In fragile states, governance structures are commonly weak, ineffective, or even non-existent; and in a post-conflict setting, if women have not been involved in peace agreements, their needs are usually forgotten.8
 Excluding women from discussions concerning nation-building creates serious governance challenges. In order to change the status quo, more women’s voices must be heard and included when major political reform or transformation is undertaken.9
Within the overall institutional setting, social institutions and cultural practices – laws, norms, traditions and codes of conduct – are often the main sources of persisting discrimination against women in developing countries.10 A stronger civil society can play a key role in challenging the underlying factors that perpetuate discrimination – as Progressio’s country programme in Yemen has noted:
In the absence of effective civil society to influence government policies and decisions in favour of poor and marginalised groups, most government plans and programmes fail to make lasting changes in the lives of these people. Young people, especially young women, do not have any legitimate participation in political decision-making processes, governance and civic bodies since government policies and programmes fail to support their involvement. Deep-rooted cultural and traditional practices and beliefs undermine and discourage women from participating and opinion-making in public spheres.11
In order to take a big leap towards change, the post-2015 framework should give additional focus on the enormous challenges faced by women in fragile states – and on the factors that cause and perpetuate their marginalisation. This empowerment will only be achieved if the structures, policies and attitudes that actively disempower women are dismantled. The gender target therefore needs to be bold and strong, moving away from measuring average progress towards focusing on the most marginalised groups, such as women living in fragile states.12 

Authors: Lizzette Robleto-Gonzalez and Fatima Haase For further information, please contact: Lizzette Robleto-Gonzalez, policy officer on women and fragile states, Media enquiries: Esther Trewinnard,
Women and fragile states: Empowered women must be active participants in decision-making
Progressio policy briefing for the post-2015 discussions

 Lockhart, C, and Vincent, S, 2013, Ending extreme poverty in fragile and conflict-affected situations, Technical Paper for the UN
High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda,;
see also note 4
2 Development Assistance Committee International Network on Conflict and Fragility, 2013, Fragile states 2013: Resource flows
and trends in a shifting world, OECD,
3 As note 2
4 Chandy, L, and Gertz, G, 2011, Poverty in numbers: The changing state of global poverty from 2005 to 2015, The Brookings
Institution, p10,
5 The state of food insecurity in the world 2013 (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) quoted on The Hunger
Project website
 The Global Poverty Project, 2013, Introduction to the challenges for achieving gender equality, Global Citizen website, http://
7 World Economic Forum, 2013, The Global Gender Gap Report 2013, pp378-9,
8 Francis, T, 2013, Somaliland: Empowering the forgotten heroines of peace-building – the women, Somaliland Sun website,

9 Ballington, J, and Karam, A (eds), 2005, Women in Parliament: Beyond numbers, International Institute for Democracy and
Electoral Assistance (IDEA),
10 Jütting, J, and Morrisson, C, 2005, Changing social institutions to improve the status of women in developing countries, OECD
Policy Brief No.27,
11 From Progressio’s Yemen project plan summary 2012 (unpublished)
12 Woodroffe, J, and Espien, E, 2012, Gender equality and the post-2015 framework, Gender and Development Network, p8,

Leer más...

Monday, October 26, 2015

Women’s Equality Day

Women’s Equality Day is celebrated August 26. Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment while also calling attention to women’s continuing efforts towards full equality.
Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY), a leader in the women’s rights movement, introduced a Congressional Resolution in 1971 designating August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” to draw attention to women’s on-going pursuit of equality. The date was symbolically selected as the anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which secured women the right to vote.  The resolution requests that the President issue an annual proclamation to commemorate Women’s Equality Day as a reminder that women continue to face inequality and discrimination. Organizations, museums, groups, and local governments across the country will hold Women’s Equality Day events.
National Women’s History Museum will celebrate Women’s Equality Day when it kicks off its “In their Footsteps: Counting Down to 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage” initiative in August 2015. Activities over the next five years will include a monthly walking tour, educational curriculum, in-depth historical content, on-line exhibits, and live programming. Visit to learn more.
Passage of the 19th Amendment culminated a 72-year struggle that began with the first major women’s rights conference at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. Over the ensuring years, thousands of women and men campaigned for women’s voting rights through rallies, the media, demonstrations, and political lobbying. Women voting rights activists were the first group to picket the White House. The suffrage amendment passed the US Congress in June 1919 and became law after the 36th state legislature, Tennessee, ratified it in August 1920.
Leer más...

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Right to Dignity of Women in Africa

1. Every woman shall have the right to dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition and protection of her human and legal rights.
2. Every woman shall have the right to respect as a person and to the free development of her personality.
3. States Parties shall adopt and implement appropriate measures to prohibit any exploitation or degradation of women.
4. States Parties shall adopt and implement appropriate measures to ensure the protection of every woman’s right to respect for her  dignity and protection of women from all forms of violence, particularly sexual and verbal violence. 

Leer más...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Rape Poem

There is no difference between being raped
And being pushed down a flight of cement steps Except that the wounds also bleed inside.
There is no difference between being raped
And being run over by a truck
Except that afterward men ask if you enjoyed it.

There is no difference between being raped
And being bitten by a rattlesnake
Except that people ask if your skirt was short And why you were out alone anyhow.

There is no difference between being raped
And going headfirst through a windshield
Except that afterwards you are afraid
Not of cars
But half the human race.

The rapist is your boyfriend's brother.
He sits beside you in the movies eating popcorn.
Rape fattens on the fantasies of the normal male
Like a maggot in garbage.

Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing
All of the time on a woman's hunched back.
Never to stroll alone on a sand road through pinewoods,
Never to climb a trail across a bald
Without that aluminum in the mouth
When I see a man climbing toward me.

Never to open the door to a knock
Without that razor just grazing the throat.
The fear of the dark side of hedges,
The back seat of the car, the empty house
Rattling keys like a snakes warning.
The fear of the smiling man
In whose pocket is a knife
Waiting to glide its shark's length between my ribs.
In whose fist is locked hatred.

All it takes to cast a rapist is to be able to see your
Body as jackhammer, as blowtorch, as adding-machine-gun.
All it takes is hating that body
Your own, your self, your muscle that softens to flab.

All it takes is to push what you hate,
What you fear into that soft alien flesh.
To bucket out as invincible as a tank
Armored with treads without senses
To possess and punish in one act, To rip up pleasure, to murder those who dare

The Rape Poem
by Marge Piercy (This poem first appeared in "Red War Sticks")
Feminist Alliance Against Rape Newsletter Apr/May 1975
Leer más...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why women and girls safe spaces?

In most societies, women have limited space to meet, and public spaces are often inhabited largely by men5. Traditionally, women’s responsibilities include taking care of children, cooking, carrying out household chores, and generally looking after the family. While these roles may change during crisis, where women may find themselves working or becoming the breadwinner, they remain responsible for the household nevertheless.

“For many girls in the developing world, the opportunity to move freely in the community becomes limited at the onset of puberty”6. Parents often keep their daughters inside the house, protected from any contact with males. “This unofficial restriction on female mobility tends to persist throughout life. While not necessarily codified in a specific way, there are functional curfews for women in many parts of the world—be it in an urban park in a Western country, or in an impoverished community in the developing world”.

In the Syrian context, women have become more isolated as a consequence of the crisis. Their mobility has been curbed significantly. Women and their family members reported having limited movement of women and girls outside the home due to fear of sexual violence, harassment, and indiscriminate attacks.

Leer más...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Marriage in Africa

States Parties shall ensure that women and men enjoy equal rights and are regarded as equal partners in marriage. They shall enact appropriate national legislative measures to guarantee that:
a) no marriage shall take place without the free and full consent of both parties;
b) the minimum age of marriage for women shall be 18 years;
c) monogamy is encouraged as the preferred form of marriage and that the rights of women in marriage and family, including in polygamous marital relationships are promoted and protected;
d) every marriage shall be recorded in writing and registered in accordance with national laws, in order to be legally recognised;
e) the husband and wife shall, by mutual agreement, choose their matrimonial regime and place of residence;
f) a married woman shall have the right to retain her maiden name, to use it as she pleases, jointly or separately with her husband's surname;
g) a woman shall have the right to retain her nationality or to acquire the nationality of her husband;
h) a woman and a man shall have equal rights, with respect to the nationality of their children except where this is contrary to a provision in national legislation or is contrary to national security interests;
i) a woman and a man shall jointly contribute to safeguarding the interests of the family, protecting and educating their children;
j) during her marriage, a woman shall have the right to acquire her own property and to administer and manage it freely.

Leer más...

Friday, October 16, 2015

Economic and Social Welfare Rights in Africa

States Parties shall adopt and enforce legislative and other measures to guarantee women equal opportunities in work and career advancement and other economic opportunities. In this respect, they
a) promote equality of access to employment;
b) promote the right to equal remuneration for jobs of equal value for women and men;
c) ensure transparency in recruitment, promotion and dismissal of women and combat and punish sexual harassment in the workplace;
d) guarantee women the freedom to choose their occupation, and protect them from exploitation by their employers violating and exploiting their fundamental rights as recognised and guaranteed by conventions, laws and regulations in force;
e) create conditions to promote and support the occupations and economic activities of women, in particular, within the informal sector;
f) establish a system of protection and social insurance for women working in the informal sector and sensitise them to adhere to it;
g) introduce a minimum age for work and prohibit the employment of children below that age, and prohibit, combat and punish all forms of exploitation of children, especially the girl-child;
h) take the necessary measures to recognise the economic value of the work of women in the home;
i) guarantee adequate and paid pre- and post-natal maternity leave in both the private and public sectors;
j) ensure the equal application of taxation laws to women and men;
k) recognise and enforce the right of salaried women to the same allowances and entitlements as those granted to salaried men for their spouses and children;
l) recognise that both parents bear the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of children and that this is a social function for which the State and the private
sector have secondary responsibility;
m) take effective legislative and administrative measures to prevent the exploitation and abuse of women in advertising and pornography.

Leer más...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Health and Reproductive Rights in Africa

1. States Parties shall ensure that the right to health of women, including sexual and reproductive health is respected and promoted.
This includes:
a) the right to control their fertility;
b) the right to decide whether to have children, the number of children and the spacing of children;
c) the right to choose any method of contraception;
d) the right to self-protection and to be protected against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS;
e) the right to be informed on one's health status and on the health status of one's partner, particularly if affected with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, in accordance with internationally recognised standards and best practices;
g) the right to have family planning education.

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to:
a) provide adequate, affordable and accessible health services, including information, education and communication programmes to women especially those in rural areas;
b) establish and strengthen existing pre-natal, delivery and post-natal health and nutritional services for women during pregnancy and while they are breast-feeding;
c) protect the reproductive rights of women by authorising medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the foetus

Leer más...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in Africa

1. States Parties shall combat all forms of discrimination against women through appropriate legislative, institutional and other measures. In this regard they shall:
 a) include in their national constitutions and other legislative instruments, if not already done, the principle of equality between women and men and ensure its effective application;
 b) enact and effectively implement appropriate legislative or regulatory measures, including those prohibiting and curbing all forms of discrimination particularly those harmful practices which endanger the health and general well-being of women; 
c) integrate a gender perspective in their policy decisions, legislation, development plans, programmes and activities and in all other spheres of life;
 d) take corrective and positive action in those areas where discrimination against women in law and in fact continues to exist;
 e) support the local, national, regional and continental initiatives directed at eradicating all forms of discrimination against women.

 2. States Parties shall commit themselves to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of women and men through public education, information, education and communication strategies, with a view to achieving the elimination of harmful cultural and traditional practices and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes, or on stereotyped roles for women and men.

Leer más...

Sunday, October 11, 2015


On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
This year, as the international community assesses progress under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since their implementation in 2000 and sets goals to be achieved by 2030, girls born at the turn of the millennium have reached adolescence, and the generation of girls born this year will be adolescents in 2030. As we reflect on the achievements of the past 15 years and plan sustainable development goals for the next 15, it is an opportune time to consider the importance of social, economic, and political investment in the power of adolescent girls as fundamental to breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination and to achieving equitable and sustainable development outcomes.
Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into women. If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders. An investment in realising the power of adolescent girls upholds their rights today and promises a more equitable and prosperous future, one in which half of humanity is an equal partner in solving the problems of climate change, political conflict, economic growth, disease prevention, and global sustainability.
Over the last 15 years, the global community has made significant progress in improving the lives of girls during early childhood. In 2015, girls in the first decade of life are more likely to enrol in primary school, receive key vaccinations, and are less likely to suffer from health and nutrition problems than were previous generations. However, there has been insufficient investment in addressing the challenges girls face when they enter the second decade of their lives. This includes obtaining quality secondary and higher education, avoiding child marriage, receiving information and services related to puberty and reproductive health, and protecting themselves against unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease and gender-based violence.
As the global community launches the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for implementation over the next 15 years, it is a good time to recognise the achievements made in supporting young girls, while at the same time aspiring to support the current and upcoming generation of adolescent girls, to truly fulfil their potential as key actors in achieving a sustainable and equitable world. In recognition of the importance of investing in adolescent girls’ empowerment and rights, both today and in the future, the theme of International Day of the Girl Child for 2015 is: The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.
UN agencies, Member States, civil society organizations, and private sector stakeholders are called on to commit to putting adolescent girls at the centre of sustainable development efforts by making the following critical investments in their present and future:
·         Invest in high quality education, skills, training, access to technology and other learning initiatives that prepare girls for life, jobs, and leadership.
·         Invest in health and nutrition suitable to the adolescent years, including puberty education, menstrual hygiene management, and sexual and reproductive health education and services.
·         Promote zero tolerance against physical, mental, and sexual violence.
·         Enact and consistently implement social, economic, and policy mechanisms to combat early marriage and female genital mutilation.
·         Invest in the creation and maintenance of social and public spaces for civic and political engagement, creativity and talent enhancement.
·         Promote gender-responsive legislation and policies across all areas especially for adolescent girls who are disabled, vulnerable and marginalized, and victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation.
The commitment by the global community to realising the potential of adolescent girls will directly translate into the girls as powerful and positive change agents for their own empowerment, for advancing gender equality and for the sustainable advancement of their nations.

International Day of the Girl Child 2015 - The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030

Leer más...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Right to Education and Training of Women in Africa

1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to:
a) eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and guarantee equal opportunity and access in the sphere of education and training;
b) eliminate all stereotypes in textbooks, syllabuses and the media, that perpetuate such discrimination;
c) protect women, especially the girl-child from all forms of abuse, including sexual harassment in schools and other educational institutions and provide for sanctions against the perpetrators of such practices;
d) provide access to counselling and rehabilitation services to women who suffer abuses and sexual harassment;
e) integrate gender sensitisation and human rights education at all levels of education curricula including teacher training.

2. States Parties shall take specific positive action to:
a) promote literacy among women;
b) promote education and training for women at all levels and in all disciplines, particularly in the fields of science and technology;
c) promote the enrolment and retention of girls in schools and other training institutions and the organisation of programmes for women who leave school prematurely.

Leer más...

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Right to a Healthy and Sustainable Environment in Africa

1. Women shall have the right to live in a healthy and sustainable environment.

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to: 
a) ensure greater participation of women in the planning, management and preservation of the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources at all levels; 
b) promote research and investment in new and renewable energy sources and appropriate technologies, including information technologies and facilitate women's access to, and participation in their control; 
c) protect and enable the development of women’s indigenous knowledge systems; 
d) regulate the management, processing, storage and disposal of domestic waste;
e) ensure that proper standards are followed for the storage, transportation and disposal of toxic waste.

Leer más...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Asma al-Ghoul

Asma al-Ghoul is not your typical Palestinian activist. A secular feminist who writes for the Ramallah-based newspaper Al-Ayyam and blogs at AsmaGaza, Ghoul is known for her vocal denunciations of violations of civil rights in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, catching the media's attention when she walked on a public Gaza beach with a mixed-gender group in 2009. When she publicly denounced her uncle -- a senior Hamas military leader -- in an article, he threatenedto kill her. After she was beaten by Hamas security forces in March 2011 while trying to cover rallies calling for Hamas to reconcile with Fatah, an international outcry prompted the Hamas government to apologize and promise an investigation.

Leer más...

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Threats and emotional abuse 3/3

Many MDWs were threatened with physical violence and even death. They were also threatened with incarceration and denunciation to the police in cases where the employers had not processed the proper residency documents for the workers. Some were threatened with deportation to their country of origin, while they needed to continue working in order to pay back the debt they had accumulated due to the high migration costs, or in order to support their families, teach their kids, or provide medical care for sick family members with their income. Not only would employers threaten to withhold wages, but some would actually go through with these threats. Many employers would threaten to beat the workers or cut off their communication with their families. Some would actually beat them if they asked for better working conditions.
The survey showed that 46% of the MDWs were threatened with one or more of the following:
- Physical or sexual violence: 67%
- Denunciation to the police: 82%
- Returning them to the placement agency: 62%
- Withholding of wages: 51%
- Deportation back home: 11%
- Denial of food and basic needs: 9%
- Denial of communication with families and days off: 2%
- Other threats, such as locking them in the house and taking back wages that have already been paid: 9%
The workers were threatened by the employers or their employers’ family members as well as by the
owners and employees of the placement agency. Sixty-two percent of the workers reported being verbally abused by the employer’s family members or by placement agency staff. Not one worker was spared shouting, insults, or verbal slurs, which are a type of psychological abuse. The emotional abuse was intended to force the migrant workers to work and to make them pick and choose between their rights, thus subjecting them to the mercy of the employer when asking for their rights.
Leer más...

Friday, October 2, 2015

Denial of privacy and the right to a private life 2/3

Most domestic workers who participated in the study did not have a private space in the house. In the
small number of cases where they did, it was often a tiny room fitting nothing more than a small bed
or a mattress on the floor. Despite that, most workers said that the small room in the house was better
than the alternatives, which include sleeping in the kitchen (19%), the living room (22%), or on the balcony (7%). Some had to share rooms with members of the household (11%) and that included men, which put them in a constant state of worry about potential sexual abuse and exploitation. As for those who slept in the living room, they had to wait for the entire family to go to sleep before they could do the same. Those who slept in the kitchen would wake up if anyone had to use the bathroom or drink water at night. Most workers kept their belongings in a bag and were not given a closet to keep their private belongings at any point during their stay at the employer’s house.
Some employers act as though they have absolute authority over the appearance of the worker, as if
she herself has no opinion about her own appearance. Most workers complained about the employers
making them cut their hair as soon as they arrived at the house. Some woke up to the employers cutting their hair against their will. Others were forced to use lice shampoo for a week regardless of
whether they suffered from lice or not.
Some workers said that their employers searched their belongings which they had brought from home, throwing some of their things away without compensating them. Most workers stated that they were not given any new clothes, but were rather given hand-me-downs that belonged to the female members of the household or their relatives. In some cases, personal care and hygiene items such as feminine pads and soap were not provided to the workers and some said that they would bathe with dishwashing detergent.
Leer más...