As the #MeToo movement continues, a new report from aid agency CARE Australia shines a light on the 235 million women working in countries with no laws against workplace sexual harassment.
The report comes ahead of a June meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which is set to usher in the first legally binding international standards on the issue.
But CARE Australia CEO Sally Moyle says the developing world’s most vulnerable women are at risk of being excluded if the scope of the standards is too narrow.
“The MeToo movement against sexual harassment gained momentum on film sets and in boardrooms and has trickled down to spark conversations in many Australian workplaces, which is well overdue,” Ms Moyle says.
“But it’s important to remember not all workers sit behind a desk or even have a formal contract.
“In many of the countries where CARE runs projects, women work in factories and fields for low wages and with very little job security.
“Others work in private homes as maids or nannies, or on the street as market and food vendors.
“They are at risk of being left out of these new standards if the definitions of ‘worker’ and ‘workplace’ are too narrow.”
Last year, CARE Australia – armed with almost 5,000 signatures from supporters – successfully persuaded the Australian Government to vote for the binding international standards.
As negotiations continue and the standards are finalised, Ms Moyle says CARE is keen to ensure they are as strong as possible.
“Workplace harassment is a global problem requiring a global response,” she says.
“From office workers in Australia to factory workers in South East Asia, what we all have in common as women is the right to get our job done free from violence and harassment.
“Australia must use its position to make sure everybody, everywhere, has the right to work free from violence and harassment.”
CARE is encouraging Australians to sign a critical petition for the Australian Government to use our vote at the International Labour Conference in June to ensure no woman is left unprotected by sexual harassment laws.
For interviews with CARE Australia CEO Sally Moyle contact Iona Salter on 0419 567 777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org