Time to ratify ILO Convention 190 and eliminate gender based violence at work

Media Statement: Everyone, regardless of their gender, should have the right to go to work and feel safe. Yet every day, women all over the world are subject to harassment and violence at work; one third of all women will face gender based violence (GBV) in their lifetime.


In support of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence campaign which kicks off this week (25 Nov – 10 Dec), ActionAid Australia is working with labour movements, trade unions and women’s rights organisations to call on the Australian Government to ratify the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention (no. 190) and ensure urgent protection for women at work.

ILO Convention 190 is the first ever international labour standard to address GBV and harassment in the workplace. Importantly, it recognises that a majority of women workers don’t work in formal workspaces and includes protections for both formal and informal workers. It also acknowledges that violence can occur on the way to and from workplaces and therefore includes both public and private spaces as potential sites of violence.

The Convention sets out standards that aim to eliminate all forms of gender based violence and harassment in the world of work. But adopting the Convention is only the first step, said ActionAid Australia’s Executive Director, Michelle Higelin. “We have an unprecedented opportunity to come together to demonstrate our collective commitment to ending violence against women at work. Now governments must implement ILO Convention 190 into domestic law to make these standards a reality.”

Australia has less than seven months left (until 21 June 2020) to ratify the Convention. During the 16 Days campaign, ActionAid is mobilising supporters around the country to deliver the names of thousands of people to Attorney-General Christian Porter urging the Government to urgently ratify and implement the convention.

ActionAid calls on all Australian companies, including those operating overseas, to respect and uphold the rights of all women to freedom from violence and harassment in the world of work. The Government can play an important role in ensuring protection for the most vulnerable workers, including migrant women, and working to prevent and eliminate GBV in all its forms

Link to petition: https://actionaid.org.au/actions/ratify-ilo-c190-petition/


Notes to editor:

ActionAid is committed to securing economic justice for women, including ensuring access to decent work and public services. Read more about our campaign against the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade deal that could further expose women to exploitative and insecure working conditions and the widespread violation of their human rights – https://actionaid.org.au/transform-trade-for-women/