California Domestic Workers Coalition

Karina Nova and Juan Carlos Guerrero

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Carnaval returns to San Francisco for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The two-day event attracts thousands to the Mission District for a festival and a colorful parade.

In 2019, among the samba dancers, drummers and school bands, a group of women also marched and danced to the beat. It was the first time these women took part in the parade. They belonged to La Colectiva de Mujeres, the Women’s Collective, a group that educates domestic workers about their labor rights. It was a sort of coming out party for the women, who are often seen as invisible in the labor force.

One in six domestic workers worldwide is a migrant. Many work without adequate pay and can suffer physical, sexual and emotional abuse. When the pandemic hit, these working women felt the impact directly. Many lost their jobs as governments ordered a shelter-in-place. Then when some were able to return to work, they were pressured to work extra hours by their employers who needed extra daycare while working remotely.