“Violence against women at work is a serious problem, just as it is in society generally. Trade unions are campaigning on both fronts, to get rid of it in the workplace and in the community,” said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder, “Inequality and pervasive discrimination against women and girls are at the core of the problem, providing an environment where violence is tolerated or even encouraged.”
One-third of women are subjected to violent attack at some point in their lives, with the majority of cases involving rape or attempted rape. Women aged 15 - 44 are more at risk of death and disability through domestic violence than through cancer, motor accidents, war and malaria, and each year some two million girls between aged five and 15 are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.
Women in many different economic sectors also experience violence in their working life, including domestic work, manufacturing sweatshops, agriculture and the hospitality industry, while sexual harassment remains a serious problem across the spectrum of employment and in every part of the world.
The First ITUC World Women’s Conference (19-21 October 2009) adopted a resolution on “Violence against women” which aims to further intensify trade union action. The Conference launched an appeal to the international community, and in particular to the governments of the countries concerned, to take decisive action to bring an end to the violence perpetrated against women, based on their status as women or as trade unionists, especially in armed conflicts and in situations where violence against women – including rape – is used systematically as a weapon of war.
The ITUC is also working with Global Union Federations in their respective industrial sector, including the campaign by Union Network International ”Stop the violence against women: Break the circle!“