Domestic Workers and the Right to Primary Education in Ethiopia: Evaluating the Adequacy of the Legal Framework

Enguday Meskele Ashine


DOI: 10.7176/JLPG/86-01

Publication date:June 30th 2019

1. Introduction

Domestic work is a predominately female-dominated sector that is poorly regulated and often unprotected by labour law or outside the scope of labour legislation and face serious decent work deficits. Moreover, issues of gender also come into play heightening the weak bargaining power of domestic workers. Their isolation and vulnerability as workers is made more complex by their invisibility in private homes and their dependence on the good will of their employers.[1] According to the most recent global and regional estimates produced by the ILO, at least 52.6 million women and men above the age of 15 were domestic workers in their main job. This figure represents some 3.6 percent of global wage employment. Women comprise the overwhelming majority of domestic workers, 43.6 million or some 83 per cent of the in the world.[2]

Around 70 per cent of domestic workers across Africa are women. In Africa, 13.6% of all female wage employees are domestic workers. Being an important entry point for women into the labour market, improving working conditions in the sector has broader ramifications for greater gender equality in many countries.[3] Even if not an exact count for different factor all over the world, in Ethiopia also women share more than 90% of total domestic worker in the entire country.[4] Yet in today’s society, domestic work is vital for the economy outside of the household to function. The current levels of growth and welfare would not be the same without the contribution of domestic workers. The massive incorporation of women in the labour force, the ageing of societies, the intensification of work and the lack and inadequacy of public policy to facilitate the reconciliation of family life and work clearly underpin this trend. Most domestic workers come from poor households and have generally low levels of education and few marketable skills, other than their skills in keeping house and caring for others. Alongside working long hours for little or no pay, many suffer physical and sometimes sexual abuse, are denied their right to go to school.[5]Convention No. 189 and Recommendation No. 201, adopted by International Labour Conference in 2011 and gave a clear message about Domestic workers, like other workers, have the right to decent working and living conditions. The Convention provides for minimum protection of domestic workers, this enables domestic worker to develop themselves, including education, in several aspect.[6]

[1] Asha D’souza, moving toward decent work for domestic worker, 17ff, 2010.

[2], decent  decent work for domestic worker,29 ,2011.

[3], special initiative on domestic worker in Africa. 16,2015.

[4] Helen Schwenken ET AL, domestic worker count,  10ff, 2011.

[5] .ITUC action guide , decent work, decent life for domestic  worker, 4ff, 2010.

[6] . supra not 2 pp11

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