Members Urge Full Implementation of Systemic Gender Equality and Social Security Rights in UN Ecuador Case Concerning Unpaid Care Work

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Case Filing Contributes to Collective Initiative to Develop a Feminist Global Social Pact on Care

Last month, in the case of Marcia Cecilia Trujillo Calero vs. Ecuador before the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) regarding gender equality, unpaid care work and social security, several members, along with allied feminist human rights defenders in Ecuador, submitted a collective follow-up filing (in Spanish, in English) to the Committee, advocating for the implementation of systemic remedies to ensure that women, including unpaid care workers, enjoy social security rights on the basis of substantive equality in practice.

The follow-up filing is the second collective third-party intervention in the Marcia Trujillo vs. Ecuador case. In October 2017, several members from the Strategic Litigation Working Group and Women and ESCR (WESCR) Working Group submitted a collective third party intervention to the Committee concerning the case, in which Ms. Trujillo had been denied her retirement pension request due to a short pause in her social security contributions that led the State to seek to nullify years of subsequent contributions. The purported nullification was triggered by a period in which she had been engaged in unpaid care work at home and had been unable to make regular contributions for eight months.

In 2018, the Committee determined Ms. Trujillo’s rights had been violated and issued individual and systemic remedies, among them a call for the State to take the necessary steps to ensure women fully and equally enjoy the right to social security in practice.

The 2020 third-party intervention on implementation affirms the State of Ecuador has not yet taken appropriate and adequate steps to comply with the general recommendations adopted by the Committee in its Views on Communication 10/2015. Citing the State’s obligation to implement in good faith the treaty obligations flowing from the Covenant on ESCR and its Optional Protocol, in consonance with the duty of pacta sunt servanda, the interveners urged the Committee to:

  1. maintain its follow-up to the general recommendations in its Views;

  2. request from the State adequate, disaggregated and unequivocal evidence that it has implemented the Committee’s general recommendations aimed at ensuring equal and effective access in practice to social security, particularly by women who perform unpaid care work; 

  3. encourage the State to engage in a consultative process with civil society with respect to the implementation of the general recommendations; and

  4. transmit the third-party intervention to the State to afford it an opportunity for comment.

Inequalities further highlighted during the pandemic have emphasized how much care matters and the high cost of ignoring the urgency of redistributing care and investing in social reproduction. Common demands on care work were included in both, the collective briefing on Women’s ESCR in times of COVID and ESCR-Net’s Global Call to Action, shaped with broad participation of WESCR members. Ongoing cross-working group discussions led by WESCR WG are shaping a briefing with our shared analysis and common positioning on care, envisioned as a first step towards a feminist, human rights-centred global social pact on care. 

  • Join calls for the recognition, redistribution and public support of care work—included in ESCR-Net’s Global Call to Action—and help disseminate the collective implementation filing in Marcia Trujillo v. Ecuador urging substantive gender equality regarding unpaid care work and social security, especially on 7 October, the International Day for Decent Work, using #TheFutureOfWorkIsFeminist in social media.

  • To help shape and contribute to our briefing, the emerging global social pact on care and related advocacy, please reach out to Viviana and the Women and ESCR Working Group at: