#timefor8: Working women in Senegal demand decent work and zero violence in the workplace

The women’s committee of UNSAS, Senegal, made their own the tools put in place by the TUDCN and the ITUC to improve their knowledge about the legal provisions on violence against women.

Anne Cécile Coly – UNSAS

On the basis of the #timefor8 campaign and its message that the elimination of violence and harassment at work is a necessary condition for the establishment of an egalitarian society, the unions of Senegal have pleaded for the improvement of working conditions, in particular through the fight against violence against women in the workplace.

Two targets of Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) deal with gender equality but also non-discrimination and safety in the workplace. Target 8.5 encourages to, “achieve full and productive employment and guarantee all women and men, including young people and people with disabilities, decent work and equal pay for work of equal value”. And target 8.8 calls for "defending workers’ rights, promoting workplace safety and ensuring the protection of all workers, including migrants, especially women, and those in precarious employment."

Achieving decent work in the workplace requires that workers’ safety is ensured against all types of violence. This is why the ILO adopted Convention 190 (C190) and Recommendation 206 to combat violence in the workplace. And the International Trade Union Confederation is strongly campaigning in support of its ratification.

It is important to note that women are the most affected by violence and harassment in the workplace, which is why the National Women’s Committee of UNSAS has chosen to start a national tour through the different regions of Senegal to train and sensitize workers on violence and their rights.

"This fight is not only that of women but of every worker. Faced with the large number of unreported violence, all actors in the workplace must commit to eradicating this scourge and achieve decent workplaces," said Nafissa Samb, president of the UNSAS Women’s Committee.

This tour started in September with a two-day workshop in the city of Thiès with women from UNSAS from the formal and informal sector. All the participants pleaded for decent work and that all violence in the workplace, particularly against women and girls, should be denounced and punished.

They also committed to bringing this plea to the authorities of the country with a view to Senegal’s ratification of C190 and, above all, to the effective application of the convention. On 7 October, on World Day for Decent Work, the committee launched a video message containing their demands and calling on the Senegalese government to fulfill their demands. So far, only nine countries have ratified the convention, including three African countries: the Republic of Mauritius, Namibia, and Somalia.

The tour will continue until the end of 2021 in other regions of Senegal to train and sensitise as many workers as possible on this phenomenon.