‘Indispensable to All Working Women and to Mothers in the Home.’ Global Labor Standards and the Quest for Social Justice, 1919-2019

Abstract: The binary productive and reproductive labor –what the International Labour Organization (ILO) has called work and family responsibilities– cordoned off care from employment. Until the 2000s, paid care work mostly stood outside of ILO deliberations, while unpaid family care became a concern as a means to enhance labor force participation and thus reinforce the valuing of care as a special kind of activity. This analysis traces the construction of the woman worker under global labor standards by focusing on ‘All Working Women’ and ‘Mothers in the Home’ to complicate feminist discussions of equality.