Wages for Housework International Campaign

Wages for Housework begins with those of us with least power internationally – unwaged workers in the home (mothers, housewives, domestic workers denied pay), and unwaged workers on the land and in the community.

Wages for Housework is a demand, it is also a perspective, a way of organising from the bottom up, of autonomous sectors working together to end the power relations among us.

The caring work women do produces and reproduces the workforce, in fact the whole human race. It should be a source of power for women. Instead it is used to exploit and impoverish us.

To escape poverty and financial dependence, women have fought to enter jobs and careers previously reserved for men. Some have risen in the capitalist hierarchy but most have not, especially mothers, so we are still the poorer sex.

And the status of caring work – vital to survival and wellbeing – has hardly changed. It is still unpaid or low paid. Some of the financial recognition mothers had won – welfare, Family Allowance / Child Benefit, Income Support has been rolled back.


Our demand for a living wage for mothers and other carers presumes that human beings and all life on earth must become the aim of every policy and development. It is an anticapitalst perspective.  Climate justice campaigners are now now calling for a Care Income for those doing the work of caring for people and planet.

Press release from Queer Strike: “When women are paid for all we do, there’ll be a lot of wages due . . .”

By Global Women's Strike | 2nd July 2024

Singer-song writer Gemma Rogers has re-imagined the song, “Wages Due”, written and originally sung by Boo Watson in 1975.  Released on Bandcamp, people are asked to pay what they can when they download the song.  We’re delighted that all proceeds will go to Crossroads Women.    Boo Watson was a founding member of Wages Due Lesbians in Toronto, Canada, and a talented musician. She composed and wrote the “Wages…

Selma James in Hunger Magazine

By Global Women's Strike | 8th March 2018

Selma James in Hunger Magazine “READ THE MOST INSPIRING QUOTES FROM THE WOMEN OF HUNGER 14” “In the recent months what has happened is that women in prominent positions have complained about what they suffer, and that has been very useful. It can be even more useful when they include the rest of us in…

Equal Pay article by Selma James for What Women Want report

By Global Women's Strike | 8th March 2018

WHAT WOMEN WANT 2.0 EQUAL PAY: SELMA JAMES Co-ordinator of the Global Women’s Strike and author of Sex, Race & Class – The Perspective of Winning “[I want] wages for housework. Equal pay. Safety from violence and bullying.” Equal pay was a defining theme in the responses to the What Women Want 2.0 survey, showing…

A life in writing: Selma James in The Guardian

By Global Women's Strike | 8th June 2012

Books A life in … A life in writing: Selma James ‘By demanding payment for housework we attack what is terrible about caring in our capitalist society’ Becky Gardiner Fri 8 Jun 2012 22.45 BSTFirst published on Fri 8 Jun 2012 22.45 BST  Selma James describes the frustrations of women’s lives. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe for the Guardian The last time…

Selma James and Melissa Benn in The Guardian

By Global Women's Strike | 21st February 2004

Gender Home truths for feminists How should the work women do as mothers be rewarded? Selma James and Melissa Benn argue about carers and careers Selma James and Melissa Benn Sat 21 Feb 2004 10.30 GMTFirst published on Sat 21 Feb 2004 10.30 GMT Hi Selma, You were probably as surprised as I was to see recent reports that Michael…

“Labours of love, or maybe just a rip-off”, The Times

By Global Women's Strike | 19th February 1992

“Waging the War over Wages”, Los Angeles Times

By Global Women's Strike | 7th May 1987

Video: People for Tomorrow Selma James Our Time is Coming

By Global Women's Strike | 18th May 1971

“Selma James, a socialist and feminist, uses her own experiences working in low-paid jobs and being a mother and housewife as a starting point in this investigation into whether women are exploited in all areas of society. Interviews with full-time housewives, and with females who work outside the home but still do almost all of…