Valuing Women’s Work and Building Economic Empowerment: Celebrating the Centenary of the International Labor Organization and the Future of Women’s Labor Rights is a working conference that will bring together scholars, union members and leaders, lawyers, immigrant rights’ advocates, entrepreneurs, and legislators from Connecticut state government and the U.S. House of Representatives. The conference will take place on October 10-12, 2019 at Yale University.

The event has been organized with the International Labor Organization Office for the United States (ILO-USA) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a long-standing leader in the U.S. House of Representatives and Chair of the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

The occasion of this conference is the centenary of the ILO, one of the most enduring of the international normative organizations established in the wake of World War I to create more humane work and improve social conditions in the new industrial age. The ILO continues to adopt international labor standards that set the framework for the way we experience work.

Uniquely, this conference focuses specifically on women’s rights at work and women’s labor rights within a shifting political economy. Since the creation of the ILO, women’s labors have moved from the periphery to the center of modern economies—in hospitals, nursing homes, food services, hotels, schools, offices, social agencies, building cleaning services, retail enterprises, and homes. Yet women comprise the majority of minimum wage workers in the U.S. They also continue to do the unpaid labor within families.

Today we confront the imperative of generating new conversations and strategies to advance women’s economic security. With speakers and facilitators coming from across the U.S. and other countries, this conference aims to forge strategic alliances and generate new possibilities for action at the local, state, national, and transnational level.


This conference is made possible by the generous support of the Yale University Faculty of Arts and Sciences Office of the Dean; the International Labor Organization; Yale Public Humanities; the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund at the MacMillan Center; the Institute for Social and Policy Studies; International Labor and Working Class History (ILWCH); the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; the Yale Initiative on Labor and Culture and the Schell Center for Human Rights.