End violence against women day 2013

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A collective voice on United Nations (UN) day

  • About the campaign

    On 25 November, ITF transport union affiliates worldwide marked the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Together we wanted to highlight the key issues facing women, as well as the tireless campaigning that goes on all year round.

    Women transport workers around the world are subject to violence at work, at home, and in public, This includes sexual harassment, verbal abuse, rape, trafficking, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, domestic violence and more - and the scale and nature of the issue is often hidden.

    Co-ordinated by the UN, the day involved trade unions, women’s rights organisations, faith groups and NGOs combining their collective voices for a common goal. We called for governments and employers around the world to comply with pledges, laws, policies and collective agreements around ending violence against women. We also called for more organisations to take part and add their voice to the campaign.

    About the campaign to end violence against women. Saying not to violence in the first step in dealing with the issue. What need to follow is strategic and co-ordinated union action, including:

    • the creation of safe spaces for women to talk about the issues
    • recruitment of more women members and activists
    • union leadership working alongside women’s officers, committees and networks
    • the development of a collective-bargaining agenda
    • the building of alliances with other organisations where we have common goals
    • support for women as survivors of violence
    • ensuring issues and campaigns are kept front of mind

    Putting an end to violence against women is a collective union responsibility; it requires a collective union response.

    Our unions took up the cause — all over the world!

    Activities included:

    • staff training courses on sexual harassment and gender-based violence
    • talks, seminars and education programmes in schools and workplaces
    • the distribution of campaign materials
    • TV and radio interviews

    If you’re looking for inspiration for future activities and events of your own, here’s a round-up of some of the creative initiatives on the day:

    The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority State Enterprise Workers' Union (BMTASEWU) played a short film on Bangkok city buses. Read more and watch the film.

    The Kenyan Dock Workers' Union joined forces with the Mombasa county government to organise an awareness walk through Mombasa. It was attended by the general secretary of the dock workers' union and many government representatives. The union based its campaign around the root causes of gender-based violence and the use of the early intervention - working with young boys and girls to promote respectful relationships.

    Egyptian unions marked the day with an event attended by representatives from government, NGOs, the International Labour Organization, and the media.

    The UK’s National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) slammed proposals to shut all ticket offices on the network, saying unmanned stations will threaten safety. Following activity by Belgian union Belgische Transportarbeidersbond (BTB), the government announced a pledge to do more to support women who report any kind of violence. The Transport and Dock Workers’ Union (TDWU) Mumbai, India, worked with Mumbai Port Trust to organise a week of action. Around 1,000 male general council members signed a petition to support the campaign.

    The Women’s Co-ordinating Network ITF-TOGO visited different women’s committees at their workplace.

    N. F. Railway Mazdoor Union, affiliated to the All India Railwaymen’s Federation, ran a health check-up camp, followed by a street drama by the NGO ‘Tree’. This was followed by processions involving hundreds of women.

    The Zimbabwe Amalgamated Railway Workers’ Union (ZARWU) organised women in four cities to carry out a clean-up programme at railway stations. The day also featured a speech in Bulawayo, attended by management from the National Railways of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president, the first secretary general, and women’s representatives.

    The women’s co-ordinating committee ITF Niger marked the day with a televised debate. The General Union of Transport Workers, Palestine’s women and young workers’ department organised two workshops for women in the road transport and courier sector. More were planned to empower women.  

    The Federation of Transport Trade Unions in Bulgaria (FTTUB) kicked off activities on 17 November, with the signing of agreements between mayors of three cities in the country. The agreements encourage co-operation in combating violence against women.

    More than 200 women and men took part in the Cochin Port Staff Association (CPSA) seminar, including activists from other unions. The management at Cochin Port Trust extended their full support and co-operation.

    The Southern Railway Employees’ Sangh (SRES), affiliated to the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR), made a video presentation on the issue, and carried out a demonstration. This attracted media attention, with newspaper and TV reports.

    The Mauritian Government Services Employees’ Association (GSEA) worked with the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare to organise a one-day workshop at its workers’ education centre. Speakers included the union’s general president and the minister for gender equality, child development and family welfare.

    The Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) ran a workshop on the dangers of cervical cancer. Attendees received free screening. Activities finished with the West Africa Anglophone Training the Trainers workshop, attended by workers from Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

    The FSC CCOO (Federation of Citizen Services) wrote a manifesto for the day, describing the close relationship between financial dependence, social inequality and gender violence. Watch the accompanying film, in Spanish.

    The Alianza de Tranviarios de Mexico (ATM) gave talks on the theme ‘Mobbing, or workplace harassment?’, with the aim of creating an anti-harassment strategy.