Gender-based violence and work

 

Sir, – Gender-based violence remains one of the most tolerated violations of workers’ human rights. Some 35 per cent of women – 818 million women globally – over the age of 15 have experienced sexual or physical violence at home, in their communities or in the workplace. Sexual harassment experienced by women workers is the most reported form of violence, according to the International Trade Union Confederation.

Industries such as electronics, toys, entertainment, fast-fashion and agriculture are all repeat offenders when it comes to dangerous and undignified working conditions. These industries are often based in lower-income countries, where employment laws offer far less protection against violence and harassment. And low-paid women workers face these conditions first and foremost. But these industries do not exist in isolation, the items they produce are sold to consumers here in Ireland. This is a global problem.

Yet there is still no law at the international level to eradicate violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment, in the world of work. At the International Labour Conference in June, governments, unions, and employer organisations have an opportunity to agree a Convention and Recommendation on “Ending violence and harassment in the world of work.” This could protect millions of workers around the world from violence and harassment. These are the workers who make our clothes, toys and electronics, who pick the flowers we buy and produce the fruit we eat.

We call on Ireland’s representatives to lead the way in agreeing a legally binding convention and accompanying recommendation that could change the lives of workers around the world. – Yours, etc,

SIOBHÁN McGEE,

ActionAid Ireland,

Granby Place,

Parnell Square, Dublin 1.