In Pakistan, domestic work is an unregulated, unorganized and undervalued form of employment. Because the current legislation excludes domestic workers from the legal definition of ‘worker’, they are without such basic benefits as vacation for public holidays, maternity leave or sick pay. In 2011, the cases of violence against women domestic workers (WDW) increased dramatically in the Khyber Pakhtunkwa, with cases ranging from instances of false accusation to theft and rape. In the absence of a legislative framework and legal system for them to lodge complaints, WDW could not claim their rights before their employers. After holding an initial meeting with WDW working in Abbottabad, Iris Development Organization (IDO) recognized the need to organize the first WDW Support Group/Union to assist WDW with their cases and reduce the instances of violence against them. IDO requested funds to form and register the Support Group/Union, hold rights trainings for WDW to increase their awareness of their rights, and conduct a signature campaign to collect signatures from domestic workers to be presented to the Ministry of Labour calling for recognition of the rights of WDW.
IDO’s mission is to inform and encourage indigenous women’s full participation in decision-making processes that affects their lives, children and communities.