Domestic Workers and Climate Change

By Ade Indriani Zuchri, General Secretary Indonesia Green Union

Marie De Mountreil- Paris, 5th December 2015

This is a very interesting topic, not only because Indonesia has become one of the source countries of domestic workers and Indonesia currently recognises climate change, but also because Indonesia and other countries which attend this session strongly realize that the main problems that drag women to become workers abroad, especially as domestic workers, are due to limited living space due to massive expansion of big plantation, such as palm, pulp paper, or any other big investment.

In a patriarchy culture (especially in the developing countries, such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines –who also attend this session), women have worked for more than 16 hours per day for domestic work and help their husband/parents as a farmer or managing plantation products. Prior to the big plantation/extractive industry has come to the village (including how the big investment has finally reached the village level) and aggravate the local community condition. In 2014, more than 13.5 million hectares of the community’s land has been planted by palm. 

Furthermore, natural resources belonging to local communities and upon which their livlihood depends have become damaged from industrial use. Previously, local communities could cultivate whatever plants grew on their own land and not be dependent on the modernity which has little impact on their economic, some of them think that the usual methods of the local community are too slow and undeveloped. Nevertheless, by sustaining the traditional method and by not taking a massive benefit from the forest, soil, and other natural resources can balance the nature. Unfortunately, since the big investment has been implemented in the village by the permit from the government/state, the local community livelihood has changed.

For the sake of economic growth, local communities are imposed upon to follow the capital owner with the homogeneity of commodity, plant alteration to palm, pesticide use, and implementing modern life. State embodies a responsibility to this big change. On the other side, the benefits from politic, economic, and culture are not really acquired by the society. We have lost so much in the name of this big investment. We have lost our rights as the sovereign holder of food, land, water, energy, and other natural resources. We have also lost our rights to provide free health services to our children.  We have lost our rights to enjoy public transportation. We have lost our rights for the fulfillment of free public service. We have lost so much, it’s like we are being killed in our own land.  

Regarding the reluctance of the state, women have also experiences injustice practices. They are imposed to go out from the village and work abroad in the unknown country for them. Once more, the State is also reluctant to provide access to a better future. Probably, Philippines women workers are luckier than women workers in Indonesia. In spite of their land is seized for the palm plantation, but at least, they experience a very little administration problems in the destination countries. Also, they are provided with skill, introduction of destination countries, and providing the training of language use in the destination countries. Even though, these all are not the way to eliminate the mistakes of the State.

As said by Anne from England, solidarity and support from international society are needed to abolish the massive seized land practice in developing countries. We have to also build solidarity to reject the use of products based on palm plantation, suppress the demand of cosmetic with palm plantation use, and do whatever it is to fight of this injustice.  




12/08/2015 – 18:34


Subscribe for APGF News