International Conference on Reproductive Work, Care and Domestic Service

International Conference


UP Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto, Via Panorâmica Edgar Cardoso s / n, Porto

R&D building of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto, R. Interior da Faculdade de Direito 223, Porto

This conference aims to rescue the debate that has been taking place on the « care crisis » at the national and international level due to pandemic situation.


The pandemic situation has bluntly exposed the « care crisis » at the national and international level. However, for several decades, the combination of demographic, political and social dynamics has been transforming care provision and expanding the market for domestic and care services, maintaining and in some cases intensifying inequalities – including sexual division of labour, outsourcing, racialization, and the informal character of these segments of the labour market – and cleavages that run through international circuits and mobilities between the global South and North.

The growing recognition of the centrality of care (ILO, 2018) and the growing public debate on the functioning of infrastructures and modes of organizing care (Hirata, 2021) has been concomitant with greater attention to the forms of unpaid work, on which the reproduction of society and capital depends, and the rediscovery of the Theory of Social Reproduction in the field of social sciences (Bhattacharya, 2017).

This conference aims to rescue the debate that has been taking place on these questions, to which different areas of knowledge have contributed, from economics to history, from law to sociology, from social psychology to anthropology or cultural studies, seeking to contribute to the deepening of the field of « care studies » in Portugal, by merging knowledge, experiences and national and international projects.

4 – 6 March 2022
Porto, Portugal
and online


Sociology Institute – University of Porto; transform! europe

Scientific committee:

Carlos Manuel Gonçalves, Conceição Nogueira, Helena Hirata, Inês Barbosa, Inês Brasão, João Teixeira Lopes, José Soeiro, Manuel Abrantes, Nuno Dias, Sofia Cruz, Tânia Leão, Teresa Cunha, Tithi Bhattacharya.

Organising committee:

Inês Barbosa, José Soeiro, Sofia Cruz, Tânia Leão.


Friday, 4 March

Venue: R&D Building (Rua dos Bragas)

10:15 (CET): Opening

João Teixeira Lopes (IS-UP), Marga Ferré (transform! europe), and Sofia Cruz (member of the Organising Committee)

10:30 – 12:30 (CET): Plenary Conference – Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Tithi Bhattacharya, Professor and Director of the Department of Global Studies at Purdue University, with work focusing on the relations between colonialism, class, and gender. With Cinzia Arruzza, was one of the main organisers of the International Women’s March in the United States. Editor of Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Opression, published by Pluto Press in 2017 and author, with Cinzia Arruzza and Nancy Fraser of Feminism for the 99%, published in 2019 in several languages.

Moderation: Tânia Leão


14:00 – 15:30 (CET): Table 1: Work and care, between production and social reproduction
Table 2: Gender inequalities, sexual division, and parity in care

Venue: R&D Building (Rua dos Bragas)

Table 1


  • Tânia Leão


  • Andrea Peniche: What is work?
  • Pedro Perista and Heloísa Perista: Magnitudes and asymmetries of the value of unpaid care and domestic work of women and men in Portugal
  • Teresa Cunha: Artisanal feminist rationality in the production of a self-ethnography of care

Table 2


  • Joana Marques


  • Susan Sousa Machado: Work in the digital age: the issue of gender
  • Carolina Garraio, Jorge Peixoto Freitas, Sara Isabel Magalhães,Marisa Matias: Work-Life Conflict among HEI workers during COVID-19: A demands-resources approach
  • Tatiana Mendes and Manuela Tavares, UMAR: Feminist perspectives for gender equality at work and care

15:45 – 17:15 (CET): Table 3: Migration, gender and racialisation in paid domestic and care work
Table 4: Welfare State, social reproduction, well-being production and care policies

Table 3


  • Inês Tavares (Portuguese Inequality Observatory)


  • Nuno Dias (Dinâmia’CET-ISCTE): Rethinking the notion of « essential work » in the relationship between immigration and capitalism: axes of transformation in the care sector
  • Marcela Magalhães de Paula (CEB- Roma): Migrate to work, care to get sick:? « Italy syndrome » and psychic devastation due to the exploitation of care work
  • Marina Dias de Faria (CES): Migration and care: autobiographical narratives of mothers who emigrated from Brazil
  • Cristina del Villar (CES): Care practices of Senegalese women in the diaspora

Table 4


  • Mafalda Brilhante (A Coletiva)


  • Ana Cordeiro Santos and Catarina Príncipe (CES): The ongoing financialization of social reproduction in Portugal
  • Silvia Lilian Ferro (ILAESP): Systems and policies of care in Latin America. Case study at the transnational region of the Triple Border of Paraná
  • Pedro Perista and Heloísa Perista (CESIS): Current and prospective scenarios on the consumption of unpaid care work in Portugal
  • Helena Coutinho (CMG): The municipal program “Gaia Caregiver” and the ethics of care

17:30 – 19:00 (CET): Presentation and discussion of the ILO report “Care work and care jobs for the future of decent work”


Albertina Jordão, (ILO-Lisbon)

« Care work, both paid and unpaid, is of vital importance for the future of decent work. Population growth, ageing societies, family transformations, the secondaryisation of women in labor markets, and the gaps in social policies, require governments, employers, trade unions and citizens to take urgent action to organize care work. If they are not addressed properly, current deficits in the provision of care services and their quality will create a serious and unsustainable global crisis and further increase inequalities between men and women at work. »

Saturday, 5 March

Venue: R&D Building (Rua dos Bragas)

10:30 – 12:30 (CET):  Plenary Conference – Faculty of Arts and Humanities

The centrality of care: theoretical, social and political challenges


  • Helena Hirata, Sociologist and emeritus researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CRESPPA/GTM, Paris; invited researcher at the Department of Sociology, University of São Paulo. Member of the steering committee of the international and interdisciplinary network MAGE (Marché du travail et genre). Recent publications include Care and Careworkers. A Latin American Perspective. Cham, Springer, 2021 (with Nadya Araujo Guimarães) and Le care: théories et pratiques, Paris: La Dispute, 2021.

Presentation and moderation:

  • José Soeiro


  • Helena Hirata (CNRS – Paris)

14:00 – 15:30 (CET): Table 5: Subjective experiences of domestic work and family care
Table 6: Profissionais dos cuidados e pandemia: processos de precarização e condições sociolaborais

Table 5


  • Mafalda Araújo (CESIS)


  • Justyna Wierzchowska (IES – U. Varsóvia): The Significance of Early Care Attachment for Social Theory and Practice
  • Beatriz Melim, Tiago Ferreira, Carolina Garraio, Paula Mena Matos and Marisa Matias (FPCEU-UP): Becoming Co-Parents: Dyadic Perspectives on Cooperation, Childcare, and Domestic Work for Expectant Couples
  • Pedro Duarte, Carina Coelho and Maria José Araújo (INED CIPEM-INET-md): “Toma lá, dá cá” Give and take: an essay on reproductive work at home, from the perspective of children and family caregivers

Table 6


  • Carlos Gonçalves


  • Ana Fontes (GEP-MTSS): On the Corona Frontline: The Experiences of Care Workers in Portugal
  • Catuxa Maiz (IDIAPJGol): Essential worker’s narratives on the COVID-19 syndemic in Spain: a qualitative and intersectional study
  • Isabel Dias, Alexandra Lopes, João Santos Baptista, Pedro Norton, José Azevedo & Sofia Maia (IS-UP): From housework to cleaning services at Facility Services: gender and precariousness in pandemic time
  • Maria do Céu Silva and Joaquim Espírito Santo (STSSSS): Working conditions in Private Institutions of Social Solidarity (IPSS) —
    considerations from the testimony of a direct-action helper

15:45 – 17:15 (CET): Table 7: Past, present, and future of paid domestic work: concepts, representations, and legal regulation
Table 8: Aging and care: models of provision and intervention

Table 7


  • Rita Madeira  (NASP)


  • Müge Özbek (Kadir University): Keeping Female Domestic Workers (Dependent): Female Workers, Coercion, and Im/mobility in Early-Twentieth Century Istanbul (1900-1914)
  • Paula Machava (CES): Salaried domestic work in Maputo: conflicts, violence and the challenge for recognition of labour rights
  • Manuel Abrantes (CSG/ SOCIUS): Home service and care work
  • Victor Hugo Ventura (UCP): The Decent Work Agenda and the Law Proposal to amend the legal regime applicable to the domestic service contract

Table 8


  • Conceição Nogueira


  • Hugo Monteiro, Ana Bravo (GFMC- UC): Two types of precariousness: aging and collectivization of care
  • Daniel Carolo, Pedro Estêvão, and Jena Santi (Colabor): The silent crisis of the Portuguese model of provision of long-term care for the elderly: the case of residential structures for elderly people
  • Susana Lopes and Maria José Araújo (INED e CIPEM-INET-md): “Pintar a Manta”: the art of caring from experiences of workshop making with the elderly
  • Liliana Rodrigues (CPUP): Experiences of discrimination in the aging process of trans people: A feminist and intersectional analysis and challenges on care practices

17:30 – 18:30 (CET): Forum theatre “Silences” – La Tortuga/ Madrid

21:00 (CET): Double Session of Forum theatre: “Caring every day” & “Servant until when?”
Theatre and Politics Laboratory/ Porto

Theatre and Politics Laboratory/ Porto

Sunday, 6 March

Venue: Geraldes da Silva Gallery

10:00 – 11:30 (CET): Table 9: Caregivers and informal caregivers: subjective experiences, status, and rights
Table 10: Urban dynamics, housing, and care architectures

Table 9:


  • Liliana Gonçalves (ANCI´s President)


  • Joaquim Ribeiro (Portuguese Association of People with Disabilities): Testimony of a former caregiver
  • Joana Isabel Taveira Ferreira Neto (CEDIS- UNL): The mini license of the caregiver: are there reasons to level underneath?
  • Sara Canha (Dinâmia’CET_ISCTE): The political process of creating the Statute of the Informal Caregiver in Portugal
  • Ruth Sampaio (INED): Elderly relatives as informal caregivers: the case of mental health

Table 10:


  • Ines Barbosa (IS-UP)


  • Collective Housing Today! The issue of housing in the oppression and exploitation of women
  • Maria Manuel Rola (ISCTE): Care and gentrification infrastructures: the case of the Residential Home of Fontainhas in Porto. The impact of urban changes on care infrastructure.
  • Paula Freire Santoro (FA-USP): Violence and dispossessions around housing loss: territory repositioning or renewal of gender mandates?


12:00 – 13:30 (CET): Table 11: Round table on national care service
Table 12: Care and disability: intervention, autonomy, overload, and emancipation

Table 11:


  • A Coletiva and Precários Inflexíveis

Table 12:


  • Joana Marques (Portuguese Association of Political Economy)


  • Claire Haas (STP): The Sibling Transformation Project
  • Marina Dias de Faria (CES): No one takes care of those who care: obstacles to full citizenship of mothers of people with disabilities
  • Ana Catarina Correia (CVI): Care and/or autonomy: where is self-determination?

14:30 – 15:30 (CET): Taking stock of the meeting


1 – 8 March

“WOMEN EVERY DAY” – An exhibition about the Domestic Service Union in Portugal

Monday to Friday, 10:00 – 13:00 and 14:40 – 18:00 (CET)
Saturday and Sunday from 3pm to 8pm

Galeria Geraldes, Porto


  • Mafalda Araújo
  • Maria Manuel Rola
  • Sara Barros Leitão

Produced by: 

  • Cassandra CRL

Thanks for the material provided:

  • CGTP-IN,
  • Conceição Ramos,
  • Godelieve Meersschaert (Lieve),
  • Olegário Paz and the various partners who mobilized for this meeting

It is said that at the first national congress of the Domestic Service Union, in 1979, among many others, a domestic worker took the floor saying: “let’s put an end to the term “mulher a dias”, it reminds us of the past. I am a hundred percent female, but I am a domestic worker.” If being a maid was as good a profession as any, would anyone be able to raise a daughter to put her to that work? – it was wondered. They were full-time workers, every day. The manifesto would be addressed to the Government, but also to themselves. They would be more aware, see to judge, judge to act. Thousands of women wanted to create a union to reconvert their profession and emancipate it from the exploitation patterns in which it had been carried out until then. And to this day.
In this exhibition, we seek to reconstruct the history of a mobilization that, between the period before April 25th and until 1991, brought more than 6000 unionized domestic service workers to the front line. Oscillating between an almost slave condition and supposed confidants, the existence of these workers seemed to depend on their employers. But even in individual and atomized jobs, they organized themselves into delegations and neighborhood committees, to agitate and encourage the claim, act with hands and head, teach hoe to read and write, multiplying practices of care and guarantee conditions for work and collective self-organization.
Revisiting today the experience of the Domestic Service Union and the domestic service workers’ cooperative, in their successes and in their failures, in their victories and in their defeats, also brings us a flavor of struggle, utopia and achievement. And encouragement for the challenges and difficulties of a feminist future of organizing housework and care.