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Eliminating gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work

Education International’s General Secretary has called on all member organisations to take action to ensure their governments support the adoption of a binding International Labour organisation’s Convention and Recommendation on gender-based violence in the world of work.

In his circular commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), Education International (EI) General Secretary David Edwards points out that: “Violence in the work place is a ‘real live’ issue in the education sector, and EI member organisations all around the world are calling attention to it from Australia, to Canada, South Africa to Germany, Argentina to Norway, and across all regions”.

EI, therefore, strongly supports the call for a binding International Labour Organisation (ILO) instrument (a Convention and a Recommendation) on gender-based violence in the world of work to be adopted at the International Labour Conference in 2019.

This year’s global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence Campaign (November 25-December 10) is using #ILOendGBV to demand an end to gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work. A campaign toolkit has been developed, which includes a guide to understanding the proposed ILO Convention and Recommendation, as well as tools and resources that can be used to advocate for government support of the proposed ILO instrument.

The International Confederation of Trade Unions (ITUC) has also developed a multi-lingual campaign toolkit for lobbying and advocating for an ILO Convention and Recommendation on gender-based violence in the world of work in: Arabic, English, French, Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Spanish.

For education unions, gender-based violence in the world of work is Janus-faced

When gender-based violence takes place in schools or other educational settings, there are two linked perspectives that demand action and attention from education unions: addressing such violence as a workplace issue and addressing it as a violation of the right to education – the latter is commonly referred to as ‘school-related gender-based violence’  (SRGBV). 

Through the joint EI/UNGEI (UN Girls’ Education Initiative) programme, Education Unions Take Action to End SRGBV, EI member organisations in nine (9) countries in east, west and southern Africa have been developing  new skills, and establishing context-specific union-led initiatives to address SRGBV within schools and within the participating unions.

Representatives from all of the unions participating in the programme have been introduced to the gender action learning methodology developed by the technical programme partner Gender at Work, which has enabled them to test their own union approaches to combatting SRGBV. The programme has also enabled peer learning within and between the different unions.

A mid-term report providing a brief overview of the programme is now available.


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