Skip to the page content
two women working with sowing machines
November 3, 2021

A stronger position for home based women workers in Pakistan

The Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF), which is supported by Mama Cash, began from home in 2005, just like the first members who produced, among other things, clothing and sports equipment from their homes. At that time, they were not entitled to any rights and protection, but thanks to the HBWWF positive changes have now been set in motion and a new law has been drawn up that protects homeworkers. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the implementation of the new legislation has been delayed.

When women work from their homes, there are no checks on working conditions and the time pressure is
severe. As a result of payment via the piece rate system, workers sometimes earn just 1 dollar for 12 hours’ work. People continue working for long stretches of time to take advantage of daylight, meals are skipped and other family members are also deployed.

Delay following the pandemic

The implementation of the law has been delayed due to the pandemic. This is affecting 5 million
primarily female, homeworkers in the province of Sindh, where the HBWWF was founded.
Following the introduction of this law, they will be entitled to collective negotiations, social security, pension, minimum wage and access to labour tribunals for the resolution of conflicts. As a result of that, the income of the women will rise.

The HBBWF is doing everything possible to ensure that these rights will not only exist on paper, but that homeworkers will actually be able to claim them.

Financial support for the HBWWF remains necessary

Mama Cash has been supporting the HBWWF since 2016. The flexible and core grant remains
necessary to work on vocational training courses and workshops for homeworkers, to set up workers’ cooperatives, to create new forms of raising revenue for women, and to strengthen trade unions of female homeworkers.