Lack of legal recognition

Women migrant workers in Western Asia lack recognition, both socially and legally, as workers by virtue of being part of the domestic work sphere. The characterization of domestic work as private household labour leads to exclusion of domestic workers (partially or wholly) from labour legislation. In addition, gendered cultural norms and societal belief systems view domestic workers as part of the family and do not recognize domestic labour as “real work”, thus undervaluing the economic contribution by domestic workers. This, in turn, reinforces the deficient legal regimes that exclude domestic work from protections and regulations that cover other employment sectors. As a consequence, domestic workers often do not recognize themselves as workers with entitled rights and the lack of protective legislation in the destination country translates to a structural inability by women migrant workers to organize and advocate for their rights and entitlements.