IndustriALL will publish new research on the risks of gender-based violence (GBVH) in the garment, mining and electronics sectors, based on the testimony of 100 women workers and union leaders. The report also contains union responses to tackle the issue.

The report, financed by German Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), is the result of the work by gender-based violence expert Jane Pillinger.

“It has been a real privilege to carry out this research and to give a voice to women across the world about problems they face in the world of work and how unions can, and must take, important steps to end gender-based violence. The research, involving individual and group interviews with around 100 women workers in the mining, garments and electronics sectors, has given us unique insights into the risks of violence and harassment faced by women workers.

“Most of all it has shown the power and leadership of women and men in their unions to address these risks and prevent and tackle gender-based violence and harassment and bring it the centre of union organizing, training and awareness raising, advocacy and the representation of workers.  Only then can we seriously break the silence around gender-based violence and harassment,”

says Jane Pillinger.

The report brings first-hand evidence of GBVH in the three sectors. Although employers and unions are giving increasing attention to GBVH, it remains pervasive. The research identifies women’s multiple experiences of, and harm caused by, GBVH, ranging from verbal abuse, sexist jokes and comments to more serious forms of persistent sexual harassment, sexual assault and an expectation of sexual favours in return for jobs or promotion.

The research builds on the provisions of ILO Convention 190 and Recommendation 206. It focuses on the risks that women face daily, laying the groundwork for the prevention of gender-based violence and harassment on the part of employers and trade unions, and for the inclusion of gender-based violence and harassment in occupational health and safety. The report also highlights the impacts and risks of domestic violence in the world of work.

“Through the recommendations of the union leaders and women workers, as well as through the insights into trade unions’ good practices, this report provides guidance on the way forward for IndustriALL and its affiliates to eliminate gender-based violence.

“We should do more to hold employers accountable. The women interviewed testified of the ineffectiveness and inadequacy of measures taken by companies and their suppliers that still too often protect the perpetrators,”

says Christine Olivier, IndustriALL assistant general secretary.

To be published in the coming weeks:

  • A chapter on gender-based violence in the mining sector, summarizing the findings in South Africa, Colombia, and Canada
  • A chapter documenting research from the garment and textile sector in El Salvador, Indonesia, Lesotho and Turkey
  • A chapter documenting the findings in the electronics sector in Indonesia, India, Japan and Brazil
  • The full report.

Re-posted from IndustriALL.