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Gender-Based Violence and Workplace Violence Can End Only Through Worker Leadership


25 June 2024

Five years ago, on June 21, 2019, the General Conference of the International Labour Organization adopted the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (C190) and Recommendation 206 (R206). Today, together with trade unionists, workers, and allies from around the world, Equidem celebrates this landmark standard, articulating the rights of all workers to be free from violence and harassment—including the substantial problem of gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH). We also celebrate the 44 countries who have ratified C190, making a commitment to end violence in the world of work.  

Despite these significant advances in international law, however, on the fifth anniversary of the ILO’s adoption of C190 and its accompanying recommendation, Equidem research continues to expose violence and harassment in workplaces across the globe. Our team of worker investigators work in the most challenging environments, documenting violence and harassment perpetrated against vulnerable Asian and African workers in hotels, employer homes, construction sites, garment factories; and in the new frontiers of the future of work—disaggregated workforces employed through digital platforms and across digital supply chains.  

Breaking new ground, C190 is the first international labour standard to set out a gender-inclusive approach to addressing violence in the world of work and measures to end GBVH, including addressing risks associated with discrimination, unequal relationships of power and occupational health and safety. C190 and R206 recognize economic harm as a form of violence. These protections apply to all workers, including temporary, contract, home based, and apprentice workers. They extend beyond the workplace to cover commutes and migration for employment. C190 also recognizes links between domestic violence and the world of work and recognizes the interconnection between the world of work and regulations and policies that govern not only labor, but also non-discrimination, migration, and criminal law. If broadly ratified, C190 can play a part in supporting women workers and their organizations to demand a world of work free from physical, psychological, sexual and economic harm. 

On the fifth anniversary of ILO C190, Equidem commits to sustaining our momentum to expose and eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work—globally, across formal and informal sectors, in workplaces, and in the new frontiers of the future of work. Upholding the values and using the frameworks of ILO C190, Equidem will continue our work elevating the effect of workplace violence in the global human rights arena.