HomeNet International is the New Global Voice for More than 600,000 Home-Based Workers

HomeNet International is the New Global Voice for More than 600 000 Home-Based Workers

February 24th –HomeNet International (HNI) celebrated its official launch and first virtual Congress, marking the end of a two-year process in which HBW organizations worked together to lay the foundations for the global network.

The historic two-day virtual event brought together more than 280 HBWs from 20 countries, along with supporters, sister organizations and major allies such as Sharan Burrow, the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Sally Roever, International Coordinator of Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO).

Most delegates of HNI’s first virtual Congress have worked from home even before the COVID-19 pandemic. They are mostly women who represent garment workers, carpet weavers, food processors and packers, amongst so many other fields of work.

Like other informal workers, most HBWs do not enjoy adequate economic opportunities, legal rights, social protection or a representative voice. These are only a few reasons that gave life to HNI’s vision: “HomeNet International was created to provide greater visibility and recognition of HBW’s, especially women, and for a strong, united, and representative voice on global platforms where HBWs effectively engage and challenge those, such as governments and employers, who have power over their working lives” said Janhavi Dave, HNI International Coordinator.
HBWs contributions to the economy remain largely invisible and undervalued. Their economic activities are often dismissed as an extension of their domestic work, rather than being recognized as production for the market that contributes to the economy.

“Although they make a vital contributions to the well-being of their families and to the national and global economies, they are largely invisible, unrecognized, unheard and unacknowledged as economic actors and contributors” stated HNI’s Interim International Working Group.

According to WIEGO’S Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS), HBWs make significant contributions to society. Some of their most valuable contributions are:
Currently HBWs are facing extreme challenges under COVID-19. They are highly vulnerable to the health effects of the virus and to the short and long term economic consequences. Those who produce goods and services for local markets or as subcontracted workers for national and global supply chains have not had orders for months. Most live in poverty and work just to survive, if they are unable to work there is no food on the table.

According to Janhavi Dave, HNI International Coordinator, “Home-based workers are last in line to benefit from any help being provided by brands, manufacturers or governments. Many have not been paid for months and are not expecting work any time soon.”

Laura Revelo

HNI Communications Officer

Laura Revelo

HNI Communications Officer