Women: An effort in Latin America and the Caribbean to end violence at work | Expert network | Future Planet

One of the first impacts of the pandemic was the loss of employment for women, and those who kept their jobs were frequently exposed to workplace violence that is often invisible. For example, in occupations such as domestic work or in care and health care tasks.

Attacks and harassment are unacceptable anywhere and at any time, but now we must be more alert than ever, as the risk is greater in times of crisis: the pandemic has been a sad reminder of this reality. Frustration, financial pressure and stress can be triggers, with more risks for working women.

For this reason, we have proposed to carry out a great regional campaign in Latin America so that as many nations as possible in the region adhere to ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment at work and enforce it in all workplaces. Convention 190 is the only international standard that promotes safe spaces, while recognizing the way in which violence affects women’s economic participation, their productivity, their access to employment and their health.

Convention 190 should be a commitment for countries to place women at the center of their post-covid recovery measures

Latin America and the Caribbean is the region in the world with the most ratifications of Convention 190, adopted in 2019. But even so, there are only three countries: Uruguay, Argentina and Ecuador, and it is necessary that others also join this effort.

In our vision of “rebuilding better”, having the contribution of women is fundamental: the broad and encompassing definition of this Convention should be a commitment for countries to work towards solving this injustice and for them to be placed at the center of their postcovid recovery measures.

Latin America and the Caribbean is the region of the world with the most ratifications of Convention 190. But even so, there are only three countries: Uruguay, Argentina and Ecuador

Convention 190 introduces a number of important innovations. For the first time, it is clarified what should be understood by violence and harassment in the workplace, including various ways that cause physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm; and it specifies the measures that must be taken to prevent and address them, and who should do it.

Its scope is broad: it concerns male and female workers, regardless of their contractual status, as well as apprentices, those who do voluntary work and those seeking employment, among others. Also the persons who exercise the authority, functions and responsibilities of the contractor fall under the protection of the Agreement.

Likewise, the Convention is applicable to all sectors of the economy, including public, private and informal, both in urban and rural areas. The countries that have ratified it undertake to establish prevention and protection mechanisms, control of their application, remedies and redress, as well as guidance and dissemination.

The Convention affirms that violence and harassment “may constitute a violation or abuse of human rights… a threat to equal opportunities, and that they are unacceptable and incompatible with decent employment”, recognizing that gender-based violence it disproportionately affects women and girls.

Latin American working women lead the movement for ratification in their countries, recognizing the importance of creating safe environments free of gender violence to achieve equity.

States have one year after ratification for the Convention to enter into force. This enables them to open a tripartite dialogue where government, employers and workers can examine national law and practice.

Based on this dialogue, a roadmap can be drawn up to carry out regulatory changes, identify implementation challenges and, above all, promote cultural changes for an environment of “zero tolerance” to violence and harassment in the workplace. Workplace.

In Argentina, for example, the Government launched an interministerial table, and has developed an Action Plan for the application of the Convention that includes tripartite consultations, a preliminary project for the application of the norm, training, awareness and generation of tools.

In addition to the prominent position in the case of C190, the region has also demonstrated its commitment to the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189), having carried out 17 of the 32 ratifications recorded so far.

We urge governments to work towards the ratification of Convention 190. In this way, we will be helping to overcome injustices that we have been dragging on for too long.

Conventions are an essential part of international labor standards, legal instruments drawn up by ILO constituents (governments, employers and employees), in order to enunciate fundamental principles and rights and to regulate other areas of the world of work.

For this reason, we invite women’s organizations, business unions, and unions from all over Latin America and the Caribbean to learn about and promote Convention 190. And we urge governments to commit to its ratification. In this way, we will be helping to overcome injustices that we have been dragging on for too long.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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