After years of campaigning by CARE and other organisations around the world, there is now an international agreement on ending violence and harassment at work.
This is a huge win for women worldwide, who have risen up in recent years to highlight how common workplace sexual harassment really is – and demand perpetrators are held to account.
But more importantly, it’s a momentous win for nearly 235 million women working in countries with no laws against workplace sexual harassment, and for all women who are denied the power to speak out against abuse.
The agreement – which was passed at the International Labour Organisation on 21 June – was negotiated by governments, employer bodies and unions from 187 countries.
More than 200,000 people around the world – including more than 8,000 Australians – joined CARE’s campaign by signing petitions and attending marches.
CARE Australia CEO Sally Moyle said the agreement provided a much-needed international standard on the rights of workers and the obligations of governments and employers.
“This is a momentous step towards safer workplaces and women’s rights. CARE is particularly pleased the agreement will cover informal workers such as maids in private homes and other women working without formal contracts, as they are at highest risk of abuse.
“There is still much work ahead for governments to ratify the agreement and incorporate it into national laws, and CARE will continue to play an important role in this work, from boardrooms to factory floors.”
CARE, which is an international aid agency with a focus on women and girls, works in developing countries to educate workers about their rights and helps employers and governments make workplaces safer.
In the Mekong region of South East Asia, CARE’s STOP Sexual Harassment project is helping women in garment factories work free from abuse. You can read more or donate here.