Gender-based violence is one of the most prevalent and tolerated human rights violations in the world. More than 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence and between 40% and 50% of women experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.
The IFJ is standing alongside the Global Trade Union Movement in taking action to end gender-based violence at work and campaigning for a new international labour convention to tackle the various forms of gender-based violence that occur in the world of work.
It is crucial that unions lobby their governments to support an ILO Convention and Recommendation on violence and harassment in the world of work.
- Write a letter and request a meeting with the minister(s) in charge of women’s issues/equality/human and labour rights to discuss the ILO standard and why it is important for the government to respond to the questionnaire and support an ILO Convention. See a sample letter which you can send to your government.
- Contact local politicians who support trade unions and/or women’s issues and talk to them about violence and harassment in the world of work. Request they lobby within their political party to support an ILO Convention and Recommendation, which includes the key trade union demands (see the campaign).
- Encourage union members to write to their local politicians with a standard letter calling on them to support an ILO Convention and Recommendation on violence and harassment in the world of work.
- Present findings of violence and harassment in the world of work, with a particular focus on gender-based violence, to government members. See the IFJ fact sheet
- When meeting your government or local representative(s), include in your delegation workers disproportionately affected by violence and harassment in the world of work (e.g., women workers, racialised workers, LGBTI workers, migrant workers, disabled workers, young workers, informal economy workers, workers in precarious/casual jobs).
- Encourage supportive members of the parliament and the government to ask a question in parliament on violence and harassment in the world of work focusing on the gender dimension of violence. Ask them to make a public statement in support of an ILO Convention and Recommendation.
- Encourage union members to call into radio programmes and ask questions publically to local politicians who are unresponsive or non-committal to the support of ILO instruments.
- Form alliances with civil society organisations that deal with gender-based violence and lobby the government together.
There is more you can do to help stop gender-based violence at work
- Spread the word! Organise trade union meetings and events to inform and sensitise members, activists, organisers, members of collective bargaining teams, experts and activists on gender, migration, and youth and trade union decision makers within your union about the ILO discussion on the new standards.
- Plan at or near worksites a lunch/meeting/morning tea where issues of violence and harassment in the world of work – with a focus on gender-based violence (GBV) – can be discussed and agree on strategies for eliminating it in their workplace.
- Conduct a survey among union members to assess the nature and extent of GBV at your workplace.
- Collect and share stories from members around GBV, anonymously if necessary. This will help to show why an ILO Convention is urgently needed.
- Create a petition calling for your government to support an ILO Convention and Recommendation on violence and harassment in the world of work.
- Ask trade union leaders to speak at key trade union events and in the media about the importance of eradicating GBV in the world of work and supporting an ILO Convention.
- Plan public events, public endorsements of politicians, employers and trade union leaders.
- Mobilise activists and members across unions to take action to demand government support for an ILO Convention and Recommendation, especially around the following global days of action:
- Create an online platform on social media or an email network to post and circulate campaign updates and materials.
- Organise a photoshoot with trade union members, activists, leaders and allies showing their support for an ILO Convention and share it on social media.
- Organise a workshop to address the level of gender based violence in your media, bring media leaders on board, discuss existing policies to tackle violence at work, reflect on how media report on violence against women (check the IFJ guidelines on reporting on violence against women)
And media have a role to play
Call on the media:
- to stop the objectification of women in the news and reflect on fair gender portrayal and ethical reporting on violence against women
- to investigate cases of violence against media female staff and sanction perpetrators
- to empower women within their own structures
- to implement/improve their internal policy on gender-based violence