Awareness Raising Campaign on International Women Day On “Domestic Workers’ Rights”

By StreetNet International
February 20, 2013
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From 1st March to 15th March 2013

Awareness Raising Campaign on International Women Day On “Domestic Workers’ Rights”
Awareness Raising Campaign on International Women Day On “Domestic Workers’ Rights”

Submitted by Independent Democratic of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)


International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900’s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialised world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

1908: Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

1909 In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was the result. Every year, 8 March is celebrated around the world as International Women’s Day.

In Cambodia we are trade unions, associations, CBO, NGO’s conducted this celebration every year also. Since year 2002, workers unions in Cambodia have celebrate Women Right Day, generally to promote women right in Cambodian. In year 2010, 2011 and 2012 IDEA has celebrated with other union in Cambodia such as Solidarity house, CLC, C.CAWDU, CTSWF and CICA. Because of IDEA have worked in informal sector and most of workers in this sector are women, especially workers who work as domestic worker, massagers, entertainment workers, beer promoters and street vendors.

This year we have plan conduct celebration of The 102nd Anniversary International women’s day with other trade unions, NGO’s on The Theme Domestic Workers’ Rights are Women Rights” 


Domestic workers are requested to perform many different tasks in the household: cooking, cleaning, shopping, and taking care of children and elderly. Eighty percent of women, who have migrated from rural to urban areas, mainly perform Cambodian domestic work. Almost 10% in Phnom Penh are under the age 15 and 16% is aged 16-18. More than 80% live with employers. And more than 50% they did not have their own room that a prevalent lack of privacy and safe living spaces for live-in domestic workers, which may lead to situations of abuse and exploitation, in particular for young women and girls. As in many countries in Asia and in the world, domestic workers in Phnom Penh receive low wage. Only 4% can earn rang 70 to 100 USD and about 60% of domestic workers earn less than 50 USD. Domestic workers are usually “the first to rise in the morning and the last to go to the bed”. More than 90% of domestic workers declared to work seven days a week. The hours of work range between 09-13 in about 30%. (Study Report of ILO 2009)

Migrant worker is worker moving from one region of the country to another to find employment. Migrant workers are used extensively for domestic work, crop harvesting, mandating that they follow the harvest seasons.

Those workers were almost like slaves. Many of them said that they worked under difficult working condition, where some were even beaten and killed.’ He added, ‘In many cases, they experienced the bad fate of trafficked male migrant people, whose labor is being exploited.

Street vendors are heavily dominated by women. They are about 30-50 years old, and have relatively lower education than the average population in Phnom Penh. There are relatively more women- headed households among street vendors. They work long hours_ 8-13 hours a day, they earn low income and they need to support many dependents. Harassment from market security and police was their most serious complaint.

Other problems include the working environment (cleanliness and sanitation) credit, child care, and personal security. Harassment range from outright prohibition and confiscation of wares to collection of fuzzy fees street vendors need to pay various taxes and fees. This fuzzy collection of various fees from street vendors stems from their unclear legal status. Even though many policy makers acknowledge the existence and importance of street vending as a livelihood option for the urban poor, there is no mechanism to enable street vendor’s participation in the renovation of public markets, which is a part of the Phnom Penh Development Master Plan. 

Beer Promotion girl: Many women workers working without basic salary and are reliant sole on commission. Other receives a basic salary plus commission on sales made above set targets. In orders to get more income to support their living and their family, beer promoter need to surround their customer and all are trying to persuade their customer to choose their beer brand . Some of them do agree to sit and drink with their customer. Generally, most of them drink at least 2-3 bottles per day and many of them were affected to their health from drink too much. It will more dangerous to their health in the future.

Garment Workers in particularly women workers do overtime to earn the bonus because their recent salary is not enough to support their living condition. Women workers are undergoing hard work due to below- standard wages for women workers have worsened their living condition. Some employers use the short term contract to dismiss the pregnancy women workers. They are increasingly filled with reports of rap and sexual harassment.


The general objectives of the campaign are for building on awareness and promoting recognition on rights of women’s workers and women to the government, civil society people as well as publicity.

The specific objectives/ outcome are:

  • Raising awareness on ILO C.189 and basic women right to 30 domestic workers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia by conducting workshop on those topics.
  • Building on public awareness & acceptance to domestic right and International women rights day through various channels such as radio round table and Radio drama (short story about domestic workers situation), TV special feature and shearing leaflet in public markets on women’s workers’ issues.
  • To improve better awareness and recognition on domestic work as a work and decent social protection in Cambodia.
  • To empower women workers and domestic workers to acknowledge their rights at work and advocating for decent work in Cambodia.
  • The Cambodia Royal government will respond to our petition.


The programme activities to promote rights and recognition for women’s workers especially women domestic workers will start on 1st since 15th March 2013. The major activities of the campaign will be divided into eight as below:

  1. Conduct workshop on ILO convention and Basic women’s rights
    The workshop will conduct on the 3rd March where there will be around 30 participants of domestic workers participant and we invite specialist of gender trainer to presentation and shear any good idea and knowledge.

  2. Radio Round Table Discussion
    The programme starts on 5th March at noon will select the popular radio channel radio network of the TUs and CSOs (VOD radio) to set up round table discussion on issues related to women migrant workers, domestic workers, women garment workers in Cambodia. Migration specialists and guest speakers will be inviting from various institutions such as LSCW, ILO, IDEA, LICADHO etc; and call in show to address the questions of callers during the talk show.

  3. Radio Drama
    Drama production will developed on the story as above and it will be broadcasting on famous radio that has brand in the target province where many number of migrant workers leave their origin areas. This drama will be announcing on 1st to 15th March at ABC radio channel FM107.5Mz.

  4. Participant in national forum with Ministry of Women Affair
    The programme organised by MOWA which conduct on 7th Mach at MOWA Department and we have been invited 20 of domestic workers to participant in the theme of “Equal Right Equal Opportunity to Extend the Development”

  5. Collaborate with Cambodian Labour Confederation
    The programme organized by CLC and its federation that IDEA is all so one of federation members. The programme will conduct on 8th March at Freedom Park, which there will be 1000 workers participant including 100 workers from domestic/cleaning workers and Street vendor. The aim is to increase public understanding of women’s issues and raising awareness to the needs of women from difference sectors. The events will also contribute the key message, joint statement, related publications to participants as well as key message T-shirt.

  6. Tuk Tuk Campaign
    This campaign will conduct on 8th February at 11:30 am after vanish, the programme will collaborate with CLC. Around 50 domestic workers will travel by tuk tuk for distributing the leaflets around the markets in Phnom Penh.

  7. TV Special Feature
    The special feature will be broadcast by CNC/CTN. We will contact to the person responsible for feature in order to prepare the feature in advance which focuses on the situation of women domestic workers’ issues and ILO C.189 for broadcasting on 9th March. The feature will use to advocate and build on the public awareness regarding women worker and women domestic workers win Phnom Penh and widely in Cambodia.

  8. Summit the petition
    The working groups will summit the second petition to the ministry of Labor, Ministry of Women Affair, Ministry of Interior and National Assembly. The second petition is the same the first petition which summated during the Human Right Day. 


Joint statement on decent work for domestic work will highlight working conditions of domestic workers and informal employment sector to the government of Cambodia. The statement will send for high consideration on the four key priorities pointed to address domestic work issues in Cambodia.

Key messages are related to decent work for domestic workers, women migrant workers, women’s rights will be placing on the main streets and event place in Phnom Penh.

Joint Statement and Key message distribution will use as the mobilizing messages to build on public awareness raising and better recognition and promote rights at work for women.

Key Messages for Domestic Worker

  • Ratify ILO Convention 189 NOW!
  • Domestic worker is women’s rights!
  • Domestic Workers is workers!
  • We need law for cover to domestic worker!
  • Domestic worker not slave!
  • We need ILO convention 186!
  • We improve decent work for domestic worker!
  • Working only 8hours per day!
  • Basic salary for 150$ per month for domestic workers!

VI. Contact Person

Mr. Heng Sam Orn, Secretary General of IDEA

Mobile: 011 283 004/ 015 770 120


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