- From Central Única dos Trabalhadores, Brazil Challenges to regulate domestic work, equal pay and opportunities and the unequal distribution of men and women in home activities. The women fighting for better conditions of life and work, the right to v …

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- From Central Única dos Trabalhadores, Brazil

Challenges to regulate domestic work, equal pay and opportunities and the unequal distribution of men and women in home activities.

The women fighting for better conditions of life and work, the right to vote and emancipation, inspired the creation of the International Women’s Day, celebrated this 8th March.

The role of women in the social transformation process ensured the expansion of voting rights, participation and formalization in the labour market, income access, rights and participation in public life. And women, who began fighting for decent work, today preside over countries like Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff and Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, occupy important positions in business and in parliaments worldwide.

However, discrimination and inequality between men and women, still affects millions of women on all continents. Women have gained more years of schooling than men, yet the unemployment rate among women is higher and wage inequality continues. Not to mention that most of them survive of an “informal” economy.

Of course, the biggest victims are the poor and black, with little education and without much professional qualifications.

In some countries, historical debts start, even if tentatively, to be corrected, but the reaction of economic and political elite reduces the pace of change.

This is the case of Brazil, where after much debate and pressure from domestic workers, the trade union and social movements began to correct a historic injustice to one of the largest groups of workers in the country: domestic workers.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) , Brazil is the largest employer of domestic workers in the world. They are 7.2 million workers, where 59.6 % are black.

In 2013, the government of President Dilma, labour legislation equate the rights of domestic workers to all other employees.

25 years after the promulgation of our Constitution and 126 after the end of slavery in Brazil, domestic employment was finally incorporated into Article 7 of the Constitution.

Now, these workers have the same rights as other workers. Furthermore, domestic work is considered unhealthy and dangerous, forbidden to under 18s. But the fight is not over yet.

Always attentive to the moods of the elite, who reacted negatively, Congress has not regulated the Senate Bill ( PLS ) 224 , 2013, defining aspects of domestic employment , as FGTS fine , the definition of working hours and fine in the event of dismissal .

In 2014, the challenges for the government, to Congress and to the whole society are the regulation of domestic work, equal pay and opportunities in the market and the unequal distribution of men and women in home activities.

The struggle for equality between men and women is a challenge not only the CUT, but the Brazilian society.

Our tribute to all the women of Brazil.

- Translated by Orlando Martins


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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