According to the UN, domestic work is currently one of the sectors with the greatest presence of immigrant workers, especially women. In Portugal, a large part of immigrants works in this sector of activity. Our association has a very high percentage of women working in these areas. Cape Verde, Brazil and Guinea-Bissau are the countries of origin of most of these partners, and the number of domestic workers from Ukraine and Angola is also significant.

The data show that women commonly suffer more labor abuse than their male partners: lower wages, greater precariousness and more unemployment. Immigrant workers, particularly when they are denied the possibility of regularizing their document status, also suffer more violations of rights than national workers. And, if in the weakest link of the chain we find immigrant working women, those who dedicate themselves to domestic service are still in a situation of greater vulnerability. The specificity of this type of employment relationship, which takes place within the private sphere, further favors the already frequent labor exploitation of which immigrants are usually targeted. Many of these women work in the informal economy, without contracts,

Faced with this reality, Solidarity Imigrante promoted the Immigrant Women and Domestic Work project, developed between July 2006 and April 2007. To this end, the association had a partnership with CESIS – Center for Studies for Social Intervention, a non-profit association which promotes multidisciplinary investigations on social reality- and the Spanish ACPP – Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz , NGDO defending social and economic justice.

Giving greater visibility and dignification to domestic employment, creating bonds of solidarity and support among women, providing psychological support, disseminating information, enabling the acquisition of new skills and responding and addressing problems arising in the performance of the profession were the main specific objectives. of this project, which obtained funding from the EPIM – European Program for Integration and Migration .

In the wake of this work that Solidariedade Imigrante began to develop in 2006, at the end of 2008 the Women’s Group of the association established important partnerships with other entities involved in the struggle for women’s rights, converging on a work of mobilization of immigrants with UMAR – União Women’s Alternative and Response, a feminist organization with more than 30 years of existence – and the Portuguese Coordinator of the World March of Women, a global movement fighting for the elimination of poverty and violence against women, which denounces patriarchy and capitalism as systems oppressors of humanity and that promotes the construction of another world, based on the principles of equality, freedom, solidarity, justice and peace.

In 2009, a new intervention project was prepared, in partnership with UMAR and Dinâmia – Center for Studies on Socio-Economic Change, supported by the Lisbon City Council. Thus, combining the extensive experience of the first two entities, working in the field in the area of ​​immigration and gender issues, with multidisciplinary research in social sciences.

This project – GAMI – Support Group for Immigrant Women is in operation at the headquarters of Solidariedade Imigrante. It intends to focus its action actively in the city of Lisbon and has the following objectives: the dignification and social recognition of domestic work in Portugal; contribute to a reformulation of the current legislation – to increase the legal and social protection of workers and to combat situations of violation of human and labor rights; provide support to women in situations of great socio-economic vulnerability in conjunction with other institutions; promoting gender equality at work and in society; to empower immigrant women so that they themselves are the main agents of personal and social transformation, promoting their empowerment;

The GAMI, through the creation of a Bolsa de Emprego Seguro – a network of contacts of potential workers and employers, has yet another objective to help immigrant women in the search for decent work, thus avoiding the need for intermediaries/ those that charge a very high percentage of their income, thus betting on an informal and trusting network for both stakeholders (workers and employers).

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