Beyond labour rights
International Feminist Journal of Politics , Volume 8 - Issue 3 p. 321- 342
The protection of workers worldwide is most often sought through reference to the International Labour Organization's 'core' labour standards. These rights are, in themselves, of great importance; that said, however, the blanket approach with respect to workers that results from the over-reliance on rights is gender-blind, and incapable of integrating the crucial normative dynamics of relational power, collective responsibility and mutual dependence into its analysis. By contrast, a normative framework based on a feminist political ethic of care allows for a clear picture of the actual, situated, interdependent lives of all people, and is particularly useful in highlighting existing gender imbalances with respect to responsibilities for care work. Globally, women bear by far the greatest responsibility for care work, and that burden has been multiplied exponentially under conditions of globalization. This article will argue that only a care-centred perspective can provide the necessary moral orientation and policy framework through which to begin to solve these problems of gender (as well as race and class) inequality related to both wage labour and paid and unpaid care work, as well as problems relating to the under-provision of care on a global scale.