Harassment, sexual or otherwise and violence is an unstated, invisible but oft-repeated inclusion in the job description of millions of women worldwide. It should not be. Gender based violence including sexual harassment is a barrier that both pushes out and keeps women out of the workforce.
Fuelled by the tireless efforts of women’s rights organisations, momentum garnered by #metoo, the issue is finally emerging from a state of hiding to disclosure to a global treaty adopted recently - the Convention on Violence and Harassment 2019 at the ILO’s 108th session in Geneva. Also called the C 190.
here are six quick facts on C190
1. Adopted on 21st June 2019, the convention is a legally binding instrument that was adopted by 437 votes in favour, 30 abstentions and 7 against. Recommendations are non binding guidelines for ratifying nations
2. Recognises for the first time that violence & harassment in the world of work can constitute a human rights violation…... is unacceptable and incompatible with decent work
3. Provides an inclusive definition for violence and harassment
4. Paves the path and provides guidelines for building a general work environment of zero tolerance against violence and harassment
5. Moves out of the narrow confines of the workplace to consider the world of work in all its current and potential interpretation and recognises the impact of domestic violence against women in the world of work
6. What didn’t find a place in the convention - While C190 recognises the case of women and girls, despite activists having sought the inclusion of references to the vulnerability of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex), it did not find place in the convention text