For over 20 years, Marcelina Bautista has worked to draw attention to the need for household workers in Mexico to have labour rights. Bautista is the Director General of the National Household Workers Union in Mexico. Their organization provides training and advocacy on behalf of the 2.4 million women and men who do household work in Mexico.
In 2016, Bautista joined Mexicos Posibles, a national Transformative Scenarios Process. Mexicos Posibles was convened by concerned citizen-leaders to proactively address inequality, insecurity, and illegality – the “three Is”- in the country. Over 90 leaders participated in the development of four possible scenarios about the future of Mexico from 2017-2030: A Hostile Mexico, A Paralyzed Mexico, A Responsible Mexico and, A Failed Mexico.
In the Responsible Mexico scenario, leaders work across diverse geographies, ideologies, and political affiliations to advance initiatives that increase equity, security, and rule of law. During the first meeting of Mexicos Posibles, Bautista shared the work she was leading at the Household Workers’ Union. She invited other leaders in the Mexicos Posibles network to work with her to find pathways forward for household workers’ rights.
Between November 2015 and December 2018, members of Mexicos Posibles worked inside their networks, including the federal government, national political parties, for-profit companies, and human rights organizations, to expand the dialogue about household workers’ rights. In December 2018, the Mexican Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional for household workers to not have basic rights. It went on to mandate that all household workers be registered for public benefits within three years.
In February 2019, the National Institute for Social Security launched a pilot programme for household workers. The programme extends benefits including fixed working hours, vacation leave, and access to healthcare. This public policy shift is a triumph for Bautista and the National Household Workers’ Union. Bautista has since been featured in the LA Times, attended the 2019 Oscars as a guest of Best Director Alfonso Cuarón, and been named one of the 100 Most Influential Women by Forbes Mexico.
Through the vision and hard work of Bautista and the National Household Workers’ Union, the Mexicos Posibles network enacted a living example of A Responsible Mexico, in which 2.4 million more citizens now enjoy labour rights as a result of this collaboration.