Network of Homebased Workers
in South Asia

Movement of homebased workers in South Asia- HomeNet South Asia

The process of liberalization and globalization has caused an increasing inequality in employment opportunities and incomes. Economic opportunities created by liberalization are highly unequal. Those better endowed, with more access to skills, to markets, and with more resources or better links internationally have been able to benefit. For Home based workers; however; the quality of employment remains poor, without opportunities for skill development and moving up the ladder, and with very low income returns. Women’s vulnerability is more marked when their productive work is frequently insecure, unstable, and subjected to the vagaries of supply and demand in both national and global markets.

Given the worldwide trends toward trade liberalization, more and more women have had to eke out a living at home or on the streets rather than in factories, fields, and offices. The increasing lack of formal employment opportunities forces many workers to take up self employed work, often at or from the home. On the other hand, global contracts is forcing many to cut costs through more flexible work contracts or subcontracting thus leading to the increase in the number of women employed as piece rate workers. 

There is growing evidence to suggest why we should be concerned about home-based workers, especially about those engaged in low-end work. One reason for concern relates to a common problem faced by home-based workers and other informal workers: namely, the fact that they do not have access to employment based benefits or protection.

There are many organizations across the globe engaged in organizing homebased workers more than three decades. As a result of organizing, International Labour Organization in 1996 passed a convention on homebased workers. The convention demanded a right to organize and cover the homebased under the labour laws. Thereafter, like minded organizations working for homebased workers in different part of world started advocacy for the rights of homebased workers. 

The energy spread over through the convention c. 177 which was the tool to organize homebased workers at national, regional and international level. And, therefore, organizing of homebased workers started in Chile, Turkey, Bolivia, Indonesia, India, Bulgaria, Australia, Mexico, Nepal, Thailand, and Uganda. 

As various groups and organizations were formed for the rights of homebased workers, it was important to bring these organizations together to raise the voice of homebased workers at national and international level. 

Need of Homebased Worker’s Network! 
The common in all the countries- developed, middle income, developing or underdeveloped; is about informal sector which is large and growing sector of the economy and homebased workers represent a large proportion of this sector. They are engaged in many trades and sectors of the economy and produce a large number of products. Also, the common is issues of homebased workers like- invisibility, voiceless and unorganized, poor living condition, need of social security. They lack policies and legislation to protect them. Because, they are not organized; hence effective advocacy is lacked. 

These common issues need to spark at national and international level to bring solidarity and to create pressure on the government. Therefore, Convention 177 was a signpost to organize homebased workers and their organization under the National and International network. It is one of the tools to organize workers to demand ratification to bring under the pretext of country legislation. As an international instrument for homebased workers; it plays an effective tool to conduct advocacy and establish a dialogue with country government. 

Also, efforts are made to bring pressure through Regional political body like SAARC, ASEAN and European commission on country government to cover homebased workers under legislation. 

HomeNet South Asia – a regional network of homebased workers was formed out of need; which was discussed in a conference- “Women’s role in Informal Economy”. And, as one of the outcomes of Kathmandu Declaration was HOMENET SOUTH ASIA-Regional network of homebased workers. 

The network is formed to bring solidarity among the organizations of home based workers in the region, to organize homebased workers at Regional level, to exchange and share the success and failure stories as learning and to bring pressure on government to demand legislation for homebased workers through its advocacy efforts. And, as a result of it; Nepal and Pakistan has taken a lead in drafting the policy for homebased workers and is awaited for the endorsement in their respective Cabinet. 

A decade’s Journey of HomeNet South Asia has evolved today as Movement of homebased workers in the Region; which has been recognized by SAARC- SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION OF REGIONAL COOPERATION.

(As approved by the Board of Trustees on 05.09.2014)


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Vision Statement

HomeNets in South Asia envisions a scenario in which Homebased Workers are visible, protected, promoted, empowered ..

Newsletter,Issue 1