Yo no las dejo solas: a fundraising to help domestic workers during COVID-19
To alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 policies, many initiatives have been developed by civil society organisations – NGOs, local governments, or citizens. A team of national researchers from the RESISTIRÉ project has collected and highlighted a set of particularly relevant initiatives in 27 European countries and in Iceland, Serbia, the United Kingdom and Turkey. The initiatives currently cover eight specific domains: gender-based violence, the labour market, the economy, gender-pay and pension gaps, gender care gaps, decision-making and politics, environmental justice, human and fundamental rights.
Women, especially migrant women, are generally over-represented in the domestic work sector worldwide. In Spain, where the International Labor Organisation Convention on Domestic Workers has yet to be ratified, women who lost their job as domestic workers during the pandemic were not entitled to receive unemployment benefits under the Spanish Labour Law.
Despite a first attempt by the Spanish government to mitigate the situation by approving a special amendment in April 2020 which granted a temporary subsidy, many women were still left out, because the regulation applied only to the domestic workers registered in the Social Security system. However, the prevalence of informal employment in this sector remains extremely high, with around 30% of domestic workers do not have an employment contract at all, and many others who find themselves in a situation of administrative irregularity. This led to a situation where many domestic workers were left even more unprotected during the pandemic.
Supporting the domestic workers who lost their job due to COVID-19
To address this issue and provide relief and support to these women, several local feminist associations got together to organise the crowdfunding campaign “Yo no las dejo solas” (“I do not leave them alone”). The campaign aimed at raising funds to provide financial support to domestic workers that had lost their jobs in the Basque region and who could not access unemployment benefits for not having a contract or for being in an administrative situation of irregularity.
They managed to raise a total amount of 22’740 Euros from 270 donations and distributed the funds to 136 migrant women. The money was used primarily to help women paying their rent. Exceeding their initial aim of 13’000 Euros, the campaign was a successful tool for raising money but also a means to advocate for a political solution to the situation.
The campaign was launched by four associations of migrant women (Feministas por Nicaragua Euskal Herria, Mujeres con Voz, Mujeres Tejiendo Red, Trabajadoras No Domesticadas), and had the support of three local feminist organizations (El Fondo de Mujeres Calala, Pikara Magazine and Sortzen Consultoría).