Every year, on the 8th of March, our social media feeds are filled with women sharing each other’s stories. Whether these are stories of resilience or achievements, we see the need to empower each other. It can feel like International Women’s Day is a day of solidarity in the midst of feminist struggles. At SKDWA, this year’s International Women’s Day theme reflects the constant need for solidarity and empowerment. Our theme for 2023 is: WOMEN SUPPORT WOMEN.
It’s important to remember that not all women experience the same life chances. Life chances depend on many factors such as race, class, and nationality. When we say ‘’women support women’’, we do not mean blind support – but support with intention and effort. By understanding our positions in our global societies, we can see how our identities created different life chances and experiences among women. Standing united does not mean ignoring our differences, but confronting them and using our voices to amplify others that are less heard. For example, at SKDWA, we believe that solidarity among domestic workers of different nationalities is necessary for the advancement of the cause.
In 2023, we continue making strides on identifying and tackling the gaps in domestic workers empowerment. This year, we will continue to focus on health in all aspects, as it has a major impact on the lives of domestic workers. Here are some of our activities coming up and how they align with our theme for this year:
- In collaboration with the ILO, SKDWA has launched the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) education campaign. OSH is necessary to overcome obstacles in the workplace as many domestic workers are exposed to risks and hazards on a daily basis. These hazards can be obvious and sudden, like fires. Hazards can also be less obvious yet consistent like exposure to cleaning chemicals. In connection with our theme, OSH will enable domestic workers to build on their skill sets. This will empower domestic workers to confidently tackle hazards and efficiently identify risksthat may appear in their day-to-day work.
- In partnership with Birth Kuwait, we have launched training on Infant Care, Health, and Emergency. Given proper training in relation to childcare, this will aid both employee and employer to take informed decisions on the health and wellbeing of the child. The training will touch on taboo topics such as postpartum depression that can affect mothers, but also medical topics such as infant health. This training aims to deepen the importance of collaboration between the employee and the employer – which is crucial in fostering a supportive workplace. One of the goals of this project is to create a safe space for women to gather and exchange knowledge on post-pregnancy and infant care, activating channels of support in the community.
- Continuing our work on Mental Health, we are passionate about raising awareness on the emotional and mental struggles that being an overseas domestic worker can bring. We continue to appreciate the power of communities in breaking down stigmas in relation to mental health struggle.
- Empowerment through Reproductive Health Education. There is a need to create accessible information on women’s reproductive health that can be accessed through community leaders. The consequences of reproductive health issues can be severe and information is not always readily available to migrant women due to numerous reasons, including language barriers. Under the umbrella of our theme, we are working on outlining a guide for reproductive health education. This guide will cover topics such as: the menstruation cycle, menopause, and symptoms of reproductive illnesses. Just like all our activities, this educational program will be built on a foundation of support and safety for women to ask questions, share information, and strengthen their sense of community.
In honor of this day and SKDWA’s theme WOMEN SUPPORT WOMEN, ask yourself:
- How does my identity impact my life chances compared to others?
- How do I show my support to the women in my life? How do they show me support?
- What can I do to empower others, and myself, everyday?
- What can I share from lessons I have learned? What personal stories would I like to hear?
- How do I feel taken care of in my community? How can I make others in my community feel taken care of?