Gender and Migration: Care Workers at the Interface of Migration and Development

A special event by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) at the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV)

Programme and Participants

The objectives of the meeting are:

  • To enhance an understanding of the links between domestic care work, migration and development in LDCs and globally
  • To raise awareness on the significance and benefits of protecting the labour, economic and social rights of domestic care workers
  • To share and discuss good practices and advocate strategies and measures that expands protection of care workers and improves their working conditions.


  • Dr. Michelle Bachelet, Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women
  • Mr. Juan Somavia, Director General of ILO


  • Dr. Judy Fudge, Professor and Lansdowne Chair in Law, Director of the Graduate Program in Law, Victoria University, British Columbia, Canada.
    : “Linking Care Work, Migration and Development: A Framework of Understanding, An Action Agenda.”
  • Mr. Ganga Lal Tuladhar, Minister of Education, Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.
    : “Good practice policies and programs implemented by the Government of Nepal on domestic workers.”
  • Ms. Soraya Rodriguez Secretary of State, International Development Co-operation, Government of the Kingdom of Spain.
    Topic: “Good practice policies and programs on violence against women migrant workers especially care workers, implemented by the Government of Spain.”
  • Ms. Rosalinda Baldoz, Secretary of Labour and Employment, Government of the Republic of the Philippines.
    : “Good practice policies and programs implemented by the Government of the Philippines on domestic workers.


Care workers provide care for people in private homes or in public and private institutions, such as hospitals and nursing homes. Care workers also provide less direct person-care services, such as cooking, cleaning the house, washing the laundry and other housekeeping activities, which are necessary for the welfare and comfort of members of a household. They may be unpaid household members and non-household members or paid non-household members. The latter may be paid domestic workers and health care professionals. Care work in private homes and in public and private institutions is largely done by women and migrant workers.

Domestic workers, who are employed by private households to carry out housework and care of children, and elderly or sick family members, make up an increasing number of care workers. Estimates of the number of paid domestic workers are currently being updated by the ILO, but available figures put the share of domestic workers at 4 to 10 per cent of the workforce in developing countries and about 2 per cent of the workforce in developed countries. It is estimated that as of 2010, women make up 49 per cent of world’s international migrant population (214 million), and their share rises to 52 per cent in North America and Europe, which together account for more than half (120 million) of international migrants. Following the traditional gendered occupational segregation in their countries of origin and of destination, women migrants work mainly as nannies, housekeepers, housemaids, live-in caregivers, nurses and midwives.

Although care work makes an important contribution to economic and social development, it remains peripheral to the development agenda…

> Read more on the background note on Gender and Migration: Care Workers at the Interface of Migration and Development