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#CareforThoseWhoCareforYou: United for Domestic Workers' Rights

October 28, 2020
10:00 AM EDT - 11:30 AM EDT
Online Platform: Zoom

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Event Description:

Domestic workers comprise a significant part of the global workforce in informal employment and are among the most vulnerable group of workers.  The International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) is a membership-based global union federation of domestic and household workers representing over 600,000 domestic workers in five continents including the MENA Region. Through its organizing, campaign mobilizing and advocacy work, IDWF has been instrumental in the adoption of an International Labour Organization (ILO) convention on decent work for domestic workers and an ILO convention on ending violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence and harassment. The Covid pandemic has exposed and further exacerbated the pre-existing inequities experienced by domestic workers worldwide.  This panel discussion will focus on the organizing power and resiliency of domestic workers in combating patriarchy, systemic racism and class exploitation.


Myrtle Witbooi

Myrtle Witbooi is President of the International Domestic Workers Federation and General Secretary of the South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union. Born outside of Cape Town, South Africa, she became a domestic worker in 1962 due to the lack of opportunities and apartheid laws that prevented her from pursuing a medical career. She has worked to improve domestic workers’ rights since 1971.

Creuza Maria Oliveira

Creuza Maria Oliveira became a domestic worker at age ten. Her first payment, which was worthless, came at age 15. Like thousands of Brazilian children, she increased the child labor statistics. As not many of them were able to do, she changed her life. President of the National Federation of Domestic Workers (Fenatrad), she is an iconic figure and national role model in the fight for the rights of the working class, for racial justice and for the elimination of child domestic labor. 

Elizabeth Tang 

Elizabeth Tang is the General Secretary of International Domestic Workers Federation. Elizabeth was the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions where she worked for 16 years. She holds a postgraduate degree in the Sociology of Labour from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

Marie Clarke Walker

Marie is the first racialized woman to hold the position of Secretary-Treasurer for the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). As both the first racialized woman to be elected Executive Vice-President, and the youngest officer in CLC history, Marie served as Executive Vice-President for five terms before being elected Secretary-Treasurer in 2017. She is also Chairperson of the Women's Committee, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Sharleen Stewart 

Sharleen was the first woman elected as SEIU Healthcare President in 2003. As SEIU International Vice-President, Sharleen is the first Canadian woman to sit on the SEIU International Executive Board. She is also the first SEIU woman to sit on the Canadian Labour Congress Executive Committee.  A proud Métis, Sharleen is humbled and honoured to represent SEIU Healthcare’s 57,000 members. She believes being a leader in the labour movement was what she was born to do.


Jenny Ahn

Jenny Ahn is an award-winning social justice and trade union leader committed to transforming organizations through inclusive and progressive strategic change.