As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us reflect and remember to also celebrate the hard-working women who take care of our loved ones and our homes—our domestic workers. At the National Domestic Workers Alliance, we represent the nearly 2.5 million domestic workers in our country who are majority women; mostly immigrants and women of color working as nannies, house cleaners and care workers. These skilled professionals engage in work that can be physically and emotionally demanding. Domestic workers take care of what is most important to us, they are often the least valued and the most vulnerable.
This pandemic has created an economic crisis for many women, including domestic workers.
The December jobs report stated a loss of 140k jobs, with women accounting for nearly all the job loss. However, support and funding for care jobs may have helped alleviate some of this loss as some women had to choose between work or staying home with their children. Many were also faced with taking care of sick loved ones impacted by COVID-19. Care and cleaning jobs cannot be outsourced or automated; we have an opportunity to support all women and strengthen our economy by supporting domestic workers.
There are a lot of policies at the local, state and federal levels that could support all women and families as we navigate this pandemic and strengthen our economy: including the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, providing childcare subsidies, funding preschool, long-term, disability and aging care funds for families, paid family leave and more.
I know many of you know (or employ) Domestic workers, and I encourage you to learn their stories and take a pledge to be an ethical employer. We should all value the hard work of such women —especially during these trying times. Our imperative is clear; support domestic workers and the policies that allow for them to be treated with the dignity, rights and respect they deserve.
Author: Monica Trejo, State Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance