Recognizing and supporting Home Based workers
HomeNet Pakistan (HNP) started working for women in the informal sector, specifically home based workers, in 2005. The main objective was to recognise and support HBWs in Pakistan. In the process of strengthening HBWs for the Policy Processes in Pakistan, HNO is marking ten years of being a HBW's movement in Pakistan.
After ten years of formally working for HBWs, HNP proudly stands with its HBWs, 360 members and 25 district action committees (DACs) representatives; we feel that we have come a long way in the journey which started informally 15 years back and formally 10 years.
Speaking out against economic violence against women (VAW), especially women in the informal economy around the globe, HNP calls for: the prevention of VAW, economic empowerment and income supplement coupled with gender equality training. Another blight of inequality is the violence of extreme poverty, starvation, humiliation, deprivation, denial of fundamental rights of association or social protection.
HNP continues with its struggle for recognizing and strengthening HBWs across country to ensure:
- Institutionalization of the HBWs legal status as workers; - Mainstream and ensure HBWs in the upcoming policies and programme for protection and prosperity and above all - Mark a decade of HBWs movement in Pakistan.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
The processes have been long exhaustive and extensive but as a matter of fact have paved a way for HBWs and the organizations across the country to join hands with a silent movement of workers with golden hands.
For theirs are the golden hands that support the expanding economy of the country. Their contribution and the magnitude of what they do, goes unrecognized because they do not fall into the category of “workers”; as the law of the land states. Thus, under the principle of equity and parity; 65% of home based workers are entitled to exclusive holistic policy coverage, which is also mentioned in the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women's (CEDAW's) concluding observations.
HNP has been working for the recognition of HBWs for 15 years informally and 10 years formally, marking “a decade" of the struggle for HBWs in Pakistan. Through policy advocacy, networking and capacity development programmes, HNP has developed a cadre of leadership among HBWs who are now showing their strength in the form of unions, federations, associations, cooperatives, etc .
The network of District Actions Committees (DACs ) in 25 districts of Punjab and Sindh is a landmark support structure for the facilitation to HBWs, in terms of linkage building, capacity development and above all in paving a conducive way for the implementation of HBWs legislation whenever it will be approved. The DACs have also created awareness.
- Draft National Policy for HBWs.
- Draft HBWs provincial policy for HBWs in Punjab and Sindh along with draft legislation.
- Large Informal sector with NO recognition of the HBWs in the sector.
- NO taking into account their contribution.
- Unregulated and undocumented.
- No legal framework.
- No protection.
- Deficit of rights, employment, wages, housing and infrastructure.
Advocacy is a log term process and need to be continuous.
Mainstreaming the informal sector in the existing laws and legislation is not only difficult but tiring when we see it through the lens of formal labour.
The lenses that we need to use are Gender and Informal. The informal sector is the backbone of the economy but it is unregulated and undocumented. If properly protected and mainstreamed it could yield more revenue. Therefore, the informal economy needs to be tapped under economic growth frameworks.