Although domestic workers provide crucial care services that make all other work possible, their labour too often is not seen as real work meriting legal protections. This view has resulted in 100 million women and girls left unprotected by national labour law in nearly half the world’s countries. Until recently, domestic workers were excluded even from international labour laws, which is symbolic of the slow evolution of social perceptions of women’s work generally and of domestic work in particular. Reducing the exploitation of domestic workers will therefore require both normative change to reverse the history of exclusion, and social change to actualize their rights. An international labour standard on the rights of domestic workers is essential to achieve both.