Taking care of those who take care of others

Issues Affecting Women

4 November 2020

Photo by Lina Kivaka from Pexels

Many homecare workers[1] have been on the frontlines of the Covid-19 outbreak, caring for those most vulnerable – including seniors and people with chronic illnesses, as well as for the children of essential healthcare professionals. As a result, home care workers are unable to self-isolate or practice social distancing. Those who do stay home, face another challenge; as low-wage workers without a safety net or paid annual leave, they are hit the hardest by any national crisis, including this pandemic. 

In response, the US-based National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) has created an information hub, and is working to lift up the voices and experiences of workers impacted by the crisis on media channels. By building an online community for these workers, it is providing them with the tools to work safely, get support and fight for their rights.

NDWA has also launched a Coronavirus Care Fund, which provides USD 400 in emergency assistance for homecare workers, nannies and house cleaners who are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. NDWA has raised a staggering almost USD 28 million from over 120,000 grassroots donors. 100 per cent of the resources are being distributed to individual domestic workers as pre-paid credit cards.

NDWA also works for respect, recognition and inclusion in labour protections for domestic workers, the majority of whom are immigrants and women of colour. Its work focuses on three strategic priorities: building membership, raising standards, and building movement.

As shown in its Covid-19 adaptations, NDWA is working to change how domestic work is understood, valued, and compensated, in order to ensure that the people doing these much-needed jobs are given the dignity they deserve, as well as economic security and opportunity for advancement. Oak finds inspiration in strong and vibrant movements, built and led by women, which is why we support the work of NDWA through our Issues Affecting Women Programme. You can read more about our programme strategy here.


[1] Homecare workers are domestic workers that work to take care of children, older people or people with chronic illness.

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