NORFOLK — The United States has estimated 20 million immigrants, and approximately 5 million are undocumented.
Forty-two percent earn less than $20,000 per year, with no occupational benefits or protections. These numbers include domestic migrant workers who are the most vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and isolation: women and young girls.
Despite the passage of international laws recognizing migrant domestic workers as legitimate members of the labor force, they are still being mistreated, abused, discriminated against and overworked.
Jennifer Fish, professor and chairwoman of the Department of Women’s Studies, will share her research as well as insights about these workers at the next Science Pub, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 23 at Bearded Bird Brewing, 727 Granby St.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that of the at least 67 million domestic migrant workers around the world, approximately 90 percent are women and girls who must leave their homes to provide for their families.
In her Science Pubs talk, Fish will discuss how domestic migrant workers have become a global necessity because of the services they provide, ranging from household tasks to caregiving.
“By 2030, 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65,” Fish said. “As our society ages, the need for elder care is escalating substantially, leaving a measurable need for migrant care workers.”
Her research defines “three central fronts” of discrimination migrant women face and looks at organized approaches to assuring human rights protections.
She will share research from her latest book, “Domestic Workers of the World Unite!: A Global Movement for Dignity and Human Rights,” which documents the challenges domestic workers and leaders of this global movement faced that culminated in the creation of ILO Convention 189 eight years ago.
This recognized and defined domestic migrant workers as significant contributors to the global economy.
As the first UN effort to confront the unjust treatment of migrant domestic workers, it defines standards that ensure these workers are treated fairly as part of a platform of basic human rights.
Since its passage, 26 countries have ratified this U.N, Convention and more than 52 national organizations joined the first global union of domestic workers in their quest for societal change, according to Fish.
Despite this policy victory, real change depends upon implementation and invested action among wider communities.
“Even with these new protections in place, the overall condition of domestic workers is saturated with injustices from the household employment context to the larger international power structures that relegate migrant women to the least protected forms of employment,” Fish said.
For more information about how to support the cause in the United States, visit the National Domestic Workers Alliance here.
Science Pubs are an opportunity for the community to engage with ODU researchers in an informal setting. The free events feature lively and engaging discussion.
Networking begins at 6 p.m. followed by trivia and talks at 6:30. Arrive early and receive a free beverage. RSVPs are encouraged and can be made at this link.