Workers stand united against gender-based violence
Human Rights Day is observed on 10th December each year, and follows the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women around the world. To mark this day, global union federations came together to speak out with one voice against violence and harassment in the world of work.
During this period, unions around the world responded to the theme, “UNiTE! Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls”, by sharing the actions that governments, employers and trade unions can take to move towards the ratification of ILO Convention 190 and to eliminate violence and harassment.
Global unions also celebrated the powerful grassroots campaigns that trade unions are leading to stop violence and harassment against workers around the world.
The ITF launched a report on the impact of Covid-19 on women transport workers in West and Central Africa, exposing how women workers suffered disproportionate impacts to their jobs and livelihoods and faced increased violence and harassment both at work and at home. We also shared powerful stories of how affiliates in Brazil helped introduce a law to stop violence against aviation workers and how Australian unions recently secured 10 days paid domestic violence leave.
16 days, 16 actions
Across the 16 Days, global union federations spearheaded campaigns on the issues that matter most to their members and workers in their industry.
ITF highlighted how women transport workers in West Central Africa faced greater violence and harassment at work during the pandemic and called for unions to join the campaign to #RatifyC190.
ITF also shared how Senegalese affiliate UDTS made huge strides in encouraging the government of Senegal to #RatifyC190 for workplaces — watch to learn more about their “Caravan Campaign” to educate workers about this law:
BWI Global, Building and Wood Workers' International, shone a spotlight on the macho culture that underlies sexism in the construction and building industry, workplaces and in our homes – and called for gender equality.
IUF, who represent workers across the food chain, amplified the need for trade union leaders to actively participate in tackling the impacts of domestic violence, which affects people at work and at home.
UNI Global Union, the global union for service industries, called for an end to #ThirdPartyViolence from customers, clients, patients and the general public to protect workers in the service industry from harassment.
The International Federation of Journalists asked unions to stand in solidarity with journalists facing online abuse and harassment, using workers’ voices to show how #YouAreNotAlone and abuse is widespread for women.
IndustriALL, who represent workers in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors, encouraged union reps to spot and address risks to women in their workplaces by sharing a three-step checklist on what red flags to look out for in risk assessments.
Education International made an urgent and timely call for solidarity with educators, teachers, students and women in Iran demanding “woman, life, freedom!”
Public Services International focused on why femicide should be a matter of public policy and not just criminal law — and backed the demand for C190 ratification to end hate crime against women.
And the International Trade Union Confederation concluded the #16Days of action by reporting that 22 countries have completed the ratification process for C190 and signposting 50 other countries on track to ratify.
Direct action by transport workers
Transport workers were also out in force during the #16Days to show solidarity and strength with women and girls demanding an end to violence and harassment, and gender equality in transport, at work and around the world.
In one of the first time zones to kick off the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, workers took to the streets to #CallitOut and Walk Against Family Violence.
Young workers from AMOSUP came together to send out a strong message that a safe and equal world of work benefits both men and women. #thisisourworldtoo
Men and women stood side by side to show a united front against gender violence and to send a message to anyone experiencing harassment that #YouAreNotAlone.
Women port workers in Chennai, came together to talk to all formal, informal port workers to celebrate 25th November – the UN Day for Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.
Women rally has been organised by NRMU/AIRF for awareness about violence against women on 25th Nov 2022.
Thousands of Nirbhayas (women advocates) from all over Maharashtra- pledged to not tolerate violence against women worker and to raise their support for survivors with one voice. #YouAreNotAlone - by conducting online zoom meetings on 25th November- marking UN Day for Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.
Workers gathered around red benches installed around Rome and used red shoes to show the number of women who have been killed by acts of femicide and domestic violence.
Seafarers shared the vulgar behaviour and banter they face on vessels from male crew members as well as the defensive acts they have had to resort to (e.g wearing looser clothing) to avoid harassment. Watch to learn more about their experiences of gender violence on ships.
Madame Anika Manavi, President of the ITF Togo Women's Network made a rousing call on the Labour Ministry to ratify and implement C190.
On the 25th of November 2022, the newly formed National women’s committee (NWC) organised their first activity advocating against gender-based violence at the workplace. This was marked through awareness stop-overs at; Railways bus terminal – Bus station – Ambassador Hotel – Kencom Bus Terminal. The event witnessed participation from unions in the transport and hotel industries.
Women workers in Namibia launched their 16 days activism campaign to celebrate ratification of C190 and to strengthen the work on implementation of the convention in the country.
National women’s committee, Nigeria came together to kickstart 16 days of activism with huge excitement and hope to build a gender equal future for women workers in Nigeria after the country ratified C190 in October this year.
Share your story
Did your union do something for #16Days of activism in 2022 that wasn’t covered above? Tell us now by emailing email@example.com — we'd love to hear from you.
If your union hasn’t already signed up to the campaign to #RatifyC190, you can find
the pledge here:
To see more of the ITF’s resources on violence against women, visit here.