Victory! A new global law to end workplace harassment has been agreed.

In June 2019, women around the world earned a monumental victory: a new International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention was agreed that will help to end harassment, violence and abuse in the world of work. Read more in our press release:

Thank you to everyone who added their voice to the call for an end to workplace violence, for every woman, everywhere.

Bopha, a garment factory worker in Cambodia
After only a few months at her job at a garment factory in Cambodia, Bopha had already been insulted, harassed, and assaulted. She says that when she told her co-workers, "They just told me to avoid him"

How did we get here?

#MeToo shone a light on the sexual harassment and violence faced by women across many spheres of work and in all corners of the world.

CARE’s experience working alongside women around the world shows that women need an international law to make their workplaces safer. From violence experienced by domestic workers in Ecuador, to the harassment faced by garment workers in Cambodia, the time had come to say that enough is enough: to stand up and say that #ThisIsNotWorking.

For more than two years, CARE has been working to press governments and employers to agree on a strong and inclusive global treaty that covers violence and harassment in all its forms and gives protection to all workers, from the field to the factory, from the office to the home, or wherever they may be vulnerable.

This would not have happened without all the many thousands of CARE supporters who joined our campaign, signed our petition, supported #March4Women, and joined our day of action to lobby MPs in Parliament in March this year. We are also grateful to the our allies and partners, including many supportive businesses and, most importantly, the many women's and workers' organisations around the world who have worked and campaigned tirelessly for a new global treaty to end harassment and abuse in the world of work.

This is a great achievement - but the next step will be to make sure governments around the world ratify the convention and put these standards into action for women everywhere. CARE will be keeping the pressure on governments, employers and businesses to help make workplaces safer for women everywhere, and to begin to change the social norms and practices around what is seen as acceptable behaviour at work.

There is still much work for us all to do, but right now, we can celebrate this historic step forward!

You can follow progress and get more information and updates at the CARE Insights website

Trigger warning: this web page contains information about sexual assault, violence, and/or harassment which may be triggering to survivors.

Workplace harassment in numbers

statistics about extent of workplace violence against women

Arruny’s story

Arruny* is bravely breaking her silence to share her experience, with the hope of protecting other women from what she has suffered. See and hear her story in this short video:

*Arunny is not her real name: name changed to protect her identity.

What we’re doing to help workers

All over the world – from hotels in Sri Lanka to garment factories in Cambodia – we document harassment in the workplace. By researching working life around the world, we are calling ‘times up’ on violence against women.

composite image tuk-tuk drivers in Egypt and coffee farmer couple in Papua New Guinea

In Egypt, we train tuk-tuk drivers to prevent sexual harassment. Drivers who complete the course are provided with a sticker so that women going to work know that their commute will be safe. (Above left: Volunteers fix a sign to a tuk-tuk reading: My tuk-tuk is safe; free from sexual harassment or drugs)

Women working in the coffee industry in Papua New Guinea are at risk of violence because of an uneven division of labour and decision-making between them and their husbands. We provide farming couples with training to make the coffee industry fairer. (Above right: Coffee farmers Charles and Stella from Kinimu, Papua New Guinea)

“When clothes are cheap, women are cheap”

Nazma Akter with Sadiq Khan and Bianca Jagger and others at #March4Women 2018

Nazma Akter (above, orange scarf), former child labourer, trade unionist, activist and women’s leader from Bangladesh, said at #March4Women 2018:

“When clothes are cheap, women are cheap. Nothing comes for free in this world. Nothing is a discount. Women pay with their blood and their sweat. They take our energy, our youth, our education.”

To make change, we need solidarity. We need female leadership. We need each other. We need women to know their rights and demand them. We need companies and consumers to listen to women’s voices, listen to women’s demands and respect them.

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