October 28, 2008
After the big rally led by workers yesterday on the first day of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), today it was the turn of women to be at the frontlines of protest against the “commodification of migrant women.”
Women workers and poor from the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) joined the thousand-strong rally today organized by the People’s Global Action. A hundred members of PM wore nurses’ uniforms while other rallyists dressed up as domestic workers, caregivers at entertainers in a dramatization of the travails of women migrants.
“The trend is towards feminization of labor migration. In the Philippines last year, half of the new hires were women. The feminization of labor migration and the lack of protection for migrant workers results in rising cases of abuse, harassment and rape,” explained Judy Ann Miranda, secretary-general of PM.
She added that “The worsening poverty in the home countries and the bigger female unemployment rate forces women to leave their families just to earn their daily bread. Filipina mothers take care of other people’s children while their own grow up without their physical presence.”
PM is critical of the GFMD since its goal is to promote migration so that remittances can be utilized by governments and exploited by corporations. PM is pushing for an end to the policy of promoting overseas employment; a stop to the deregulation of the labor export industry; and the enforcement of decent work and pay, and the right to organize and bargain for all migrant workers.
“Decades of promoting overseas employment reveal that the social costs and the brain drain offset whatever economic benefits accrue from labor migration. The policy of labor export promotion must be reversed and instead governments must ensure full employment and a living wage for the people, especially women,” insisted Miranda.