Precarious Work


  • To draw attention to the role of government in precarious work and to take steps to eradicate it
  • To examine the role of precarious work in violating the right to association
  • To expose gender discrimination which leads to precarious work
  • To remove gender discrimination against domestic workers which is another form of precarious work

What is Precarious Work?

The ILO defines precarious work as ‘work performed in the formal and informal economy and is characteristed by variable levels and degrees of objective (legal status) and subjective (feeling) characteristics of uncertainty and insecurity. Precarity manifests in different ways, but usually carries ambiguous employment relationships, lack of access to social protection and benefits usually associated with employment, low pay and substantial legal and practical obstacles to joining a trade union and bargaining collectively.’

The number of women in precarious work is increasing in Malaysia. One example is the privatisation of cleaning services in public hospitals, public schools, courts and all government departments. This form of employment deprives workers of their basic right to a decent job and forces many women in such work to live at poverty level.

Sahabat Wanita will examine the elements that constitute precarious work and examine it through a gender lens to draw attention to the changes that need to be made in work that would decrease its tendency to be precarious and discriminatory to women that would lead finally to changes in law and policy.

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Our vision is for a society that is built on equality and justice for all regardless of their class and gender.