Stop Gender-Based Violence At Work

Stop Gender-Based Violence At Work

ILO Convention on Gender-Based Violence

There is a moment to create real, structural change, grounded in a critical analysis of the root causes and solutions to gender-based violence. ILRF, in coordination with the AFL-CIO and the International Trade Union Confederation, is campaigning to support an International Labor Organization Convention against gender-based violence at work. Gender-based violence is one of the most prevalent human-rights violations in the world. More than 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence and between 40% and 50% of women experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a manifestation of
unequal power relations between women and men.

At work, as in society, GBV can take on multiple forms, including:

  • Physical assault, including rape
  • Verbal abuse and threats of violence
  • Bullying
  • Psychological abuse and intimidation
  • Sexual harassment

People are increasingly recognizing that sexual harassment and violence is a fact of life for so many women, and that it is used as a tool to control and oppress women in the workplace. No longer is sexual violence solely attributed to strangers in dark alleys – now, there is an understanding that it is widespread across occupations, income levels, and geographies, and that the abusers can be powerful men, and even familiar men. Now is the time to similarly seize the moment of the changing narrative around sexual harassment to push for a strong ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. ILRF advocates for the development and uptake of this new binding international standard, with the voices of women worker leaders from among our grassroots partner network at the forefront.  

In June 2018, delegates at the International Labour Conference met to discuss the initial draft of the instrument. In the coming months, governments, employers and trade unions will be able to respond to the current Convention draft (available to read here) via a survey. It's critical to encourage stakeholders to respond to the survey voicing their support for a strong Convention with a Recommendation that includes critical language to protect vulnerable workers from gender-based violence.

To learn more about gender-based violence, read our policy brief:  Time for Change: Advancing Legal Protections on Gender-Based Violence at Work.

You can read some relevant ILRF blogs on the topic below:

Stopping Violence at Work: A Victory, and a Call to Action

In Lieu of a Silver Bullet: #metoo in the Global Workplace

It’s Not Too Late, Ivanka

Remembering Rana Plaza, Advancing Women Workers’ Rights in Global Supply Chains


Miles Quero

Rukmini VP

Sophorn Yang

Iris Munguia

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