Blog | Gender Equality

What (Guest-Worker) Women Want

We’re farm workers, crab pickers and cruise ship workers. We’re chocolate packers, engineers, veterinarians, nurses and teachers from all around the world. We are united by our motivation, yearn for knowledge and commitment to creating change in our communities. We stand with guest-worker women from around the world to ensure that the policies that affect us reflect our experiences.

In several different ways, we have all endured inequity and hardships in our journeys to the United States and in our workplace. Our hopes to provide a better life for our children and families have been met with deceit, discrimination and lack of access to opportunity. Many of us have suffered sexual harassment, one that doesn't let us live or work. Basic medical aid is nonexistent, with something as little as an aspirin being inaccessible to us. At our employment-provided housing, we are provided one bathroom for all and must take cold showers. We live and work in physical and mental isolation. We often don’t speak the language, nor know anyone beyond the employer. Many of our employers take our passports and visas upon arrival. It is difficult to access any justice or remedies.

As guest-worker women, we are together in this movement. We are telling our story because we do not want others to face what we did. It is our responsibility to follow this path, to unite, organize and not let it get lost. We represent our families, our community and future generations. We're women, and there is nothing braver than thinking aloud. We aren’t the weaker sex. We are strong and capable. We are courageous and triumphant.

We want equal rights and opportunities, as we have equal responsibilities. We want to speak up and be heard. We want transparency. We seek reforms in law. We want to change conditions. We want our employers and the people and the government of this country to value us.

We envision an alternative future for ourselves and our communities—one where migrant women feel empowered to raise our voices and not stand alone. This future holds concrete policy changes and a shift in the ways companies and employers work. Generations to come have strong protections, are free from abuse and hold employers accountable. Women are not isolated; we have access to resources for our mental and physical health to exercise our rights. In this joint vision, we are as powerful as ever.

This vision requires disassembling guest-worker programs in order to build gender equity in labor migration. Join us—the hundreds of thousands of guest-worker women—in building that future now.

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