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Working paper

A good gig? The rise of on-demand domestic work

Abigail Hunt and Fortunate Machingura
14 December 2016


A domestic worker in Johannesburg. © Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images Reportage

Women make up 80% of the 67 million domestic workers globally, increasing numbers of whom are now turning to the rapidly-growing on-demand economy for domestic work in developing countries. The potential risks and benefits attached to this burgeoning form of work may therefore affect women disproportionately.

On-demand work is not automatically empowering, and can shift risk from employers onto domestic workers themselves. This report proposes that urgent action be taken to ensure that the 'Uberisation' of domestic work evolves to the benefit of all. The infancy of the on-demand domestic work economy in developing countries means it is not too late to raise standards. This will involve proactive efforts by companies to 'design-in' good practice, as well as by government to ensure an integrated future policy, legal, practice and research agenda.