BWI Statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Make workplaces and homes safer for women

BWI joins the global community in marking this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by launching its 16 days of trade union activism against VAW, which will conclude on 10 December, the day that the world commemorates International Human Rights Day. BWI affiliates, led by its women trade union leaders, from different parts of the world, will raise their voices against all forms of gender-based violence and to build safer workplaces and homes for all working women. 

Violence against women is one of the worst forms of human rights violations. It is a global problem affecting 1 in 3 women worldwide. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the pandemic exacerbated this global problem and unleashed a new wave of domestic violence and gender-based harassment and discrimination in workplaces. While the world tries to contain COVID-19, violence against women is spreading fast in many workplaces and homes, aggravated by the same policies designed to defeat the pandemic, such as massive lockdowns and stay-at-home restrictions. 

With a strong sense of urgency, BWI is responding to the spread of violence against women by rallying all its trade union affiliates, partners and allies to lobby their respective governments to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 190 on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. The Convention is an important policy tool that protects working women from all forms of violence, makes workplaces and homes safer for women, and brings us closer to gender equality. 

Currently, nine countries (Argentina, Ecuador, Fiji, Greece, Italy, Mauritius, Namibia, Somalia, Uruguay) have already ratified the Convention. While only two member-countries are needed to ratify the Convention for it to come into force, more countries need to commit to the measure to create strong legal obligations for them to apply its provisions. It will also send a powerful message that gender-based harassment, discrimination and violence have no place in our collective effort to build a new and better world, and emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

BWI commits to help win the struggle for gender equality by fighting to make our workplaces and homes safer for women. Together, let’s ensure that women workers can enjoy the right to live and work without fear of violence, harassment and discrimination. If we are to win the struggle for a gender-equal future, violence against women must become a thing of the past.