Home > Reports > May 01st, Labor Day: what work and which workers are we talking about?

May 01st, Labor Day: what work and which workers are we talking about?

Every year, May 01st makes an important day visible to many people around the world. Known as Labor Day or International Working Class Day, this day has been used since the end of the 19th century to demonstrate for the rights of all workers and to point out social grievances and systemic injustices. For DaMigra, May 01st also means: Solidarity and recognition for the workers * who are affected by multiple discrimination!

The word solidarity has been in a high phase since the corona pandemic - but solidarity with whom? On Labor Day too, we have to ask the critical questions: what work is being given priority today, and whose work is being left out? This year in particular, May 01st is (more) relevant, because the pandemic is intensifying existing inequalities. Women *, especially migrant and refugee women *, are at the forefront of fighting the pandemic, as they are overrepresented in areas of care work, such as the care industry. Care services, ie care and welfare in the broadest sense, whether unpaid, paid, private or public, are predominantly work performed by women * that are largely ignored and inadequately remunerated. The lack of social recognition and below-average economic remuneration are a structural problem in our society - we must clearly draw attention to this on May 01st!

Paradoxically, particularly in times of the pandemic, the systemic relevance of precisely those professions that do not get the social recognition that they deserve becomes apparent. Professions in the low-wage sector, for example in the health system, in the cleaning sector, in (early childhood) upbringing and in care for the elderly and in the home are mostly carried out by migrant women *. On Labor Day, this must be in the foreground: care work, whether paid or unpaid, is work! The multiple social burden of women * is currently becoming more and more visible, on average they do twice as much care work, e.g. household work or childcare, as men: the so-called gender care gap. It is finally time to distribute care and educational activities fairly and to reward them appropriately - through appreciation, improved working conditions and material rewards.

“The pandemic has shown us that there is still a lot of room for change. While in the first lockdown there was still clapping for the nursing staff and salespeople from balconies, one hears little about it in the current permanent lockdown. But this May 01st, Labor Day 2021, and the associated solidarity, we should award these workers: They are doing the work that keeps our society going! Delal Atmaca, Managing Director of DaMigra.

In addition, women * continue to have a worse position on the labor market. In particular, the gender pay gap (also known as the gender pay gap) shows how far we are from equality: women * work almost 77 days a year unpaid compared to their male colleagues. For female migrants, the period is extended accordingly, the wage gap between women of origin German and female migrants is another 20 percent. This is called migration gender pay gap. So May 01st has to be considered especially in relation to migration. Migrant labor disputes are particularly hard hit by exploitation: migrant workers, especially women, are more likely to work for low wages and in precarious, insecure jobs. They work in care, in schools, in daycare centers - professions that are socially devalued and whose relevance is made invisible. On May 01st, the interests of working, migrant and refugee women * who are affected by multiple discrimination must be represented. We have to put their interests in the foreground, because it is predominantly they who are affected by racism, sexism and classism - the invisible must be made visible.

The 01st of May must therefore be understood as a day on which the realities and experiences of women * and people who are affected by multiple discrimination are placed in the foreground. On May 01st, DaMigra says: Solidarity across classes and origins is essential, in times of pandemic as well as in a post-pandemic society!

DaMigra eV, umbrella association of migrant women organizations, represents the interests of migrant women organizations and their concerns. With over 70 member organizations nationwide from different countries of origin, the association is available as a contact for politics, business and the media, offers recommendations for action and critical support for migration-political processes. DaMigra eV advocates equal opportunities, equality and equality for women * with refugee and migration backgrounds in Germany.

Download press release here


Course overview

Brave together

Halle (Saale), 12 December 2023

Exhibition opening in the Halle City Museum: “My story(s) in Halle” – A photo series about arriving in Germany

Dear women, dear volunteers, dear allies, The Halle City Museum and DaMigra eV cordially invite you to the opening of the ...

read more

Brave together

Düsseldorf, 12 December 2023

Exchange among volunteers and interested parties

Dear volunteers, dear interested parties, We will open our doors every two weeks from March 21 at our Düsseldorf location and ...

read more