Groundbreaking new treaty to protect women from violence at work | Plan International Skip to main content

Groundbreaking new treaty to protect women from violence at work

21 June 2019
The world’s leading body on work and labour rights has adopted the first-ever Convention on violence and harassment in the world of work.

Priyanka found work at a supermarket after taking part in the Saksham project for girls' economic empowerment.
Priyanka found work at a supermarket after taking part in Plan International India's Saksham project.

This landmark international law recognises for the first time in history that everyone has the right to a world of work free from violence and harassment, and declares that violence and harassment can constitute a human rights violation. 

The new Convention of the International Labour Organization (ILO) places special emphasis on gender-based violence and acknowledges that women and girls around the world are especially vulnerable.

Harassment and violence occur in every space women occupy

Globally 1 in 3 women has been raped, beaten or abused, and this violence takes place in every space they occupy. The world of work is no exception, and violence and harassment continues to plague the 1.35 billion working women in the world.

We will never achieve gender equality until women are able to work in safe and decent conditions, without fear of violence or harassment. 

Even though rates of violence and harassment are unacceptably high, more than 1 in 3 countries have no laws against sexual harassment in the workplace.

This Convention will begin to change that. It requires the governments that ratify it to enact laws and policies that prohibit violence and harassment, whether it takes place in the workplace, in work-related social activities, or even when a person is commuting to and from work.

Governments and employers will also be required to put in place mechanisms that will allow survivors of violence or harassment to come forward and report safely, without fear of retaliation.

Step forwards for girls' and women's economic empowerment

Plan International is dedicated to ensuring that young women and men have the skills and opportunities they need to become economically empowered. Through the Girls Advocacy Alliance, Plan International works to address gender-based violence in the world of work, combat economic exclusion and increase access to the labour market for young women.

The Girls Advocacy Alliance aims to create more awareness of these issues with private sector companies and to advocate for the introduction of better policies and practices to promote gender equality and child protection in their supply chains.

Women have the right to live and work in safety

In the #MeToo era, the world has become more and more aware of the challenges that young women in particular are facing in the world of work. Gender equality will not be achieved until women are able to work in safe and decent conditions, without fear of violence or harassment. 

The ILO has taken the first step in adopting this ground-breaking Convention. But it means nothing if governments do not ratify it. We urge all countries from every region to ratify the Convention to make sure that every woman and man can truly be protected from violence and harassment in the world of work.
 

Learn more about gender-based violence