To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, Education International affiliates are urging governments to support the International Labour Organisation’s Standard on gender based violence and harassment at work.
According to statistics, 35 percent of women globally have experienced physical violence and 40-50 percent of women experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work. Gender-based violence has the potential to limit victims’ participation in the economy and in society, and to negatively impact the workplace.
Education International (EI) member organisations received a ‘Call to Action’, urging them to enter into dialogue with the key ministries that are likely to advise government on the issue of gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work.
Schools and other places of teaching and learning are also part of the world of work, and the issue of school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) has become a priority issue for policy makers and education trade unions alike.
The SRGBV commonly refers to acts or threats of sexual, physical or psychological violence occurring in or around schools and educational settings as a result of gender norms and unequal power dynamics between genders.
It includes acts of bullying, sexual or verbal harassment, non-consensual touching, rape and assault. Although both girls and boys can be targets of SRGBV, girls and women are the most vulnerable.
Put simply: violence undermines the sustainable development agenda of education and health for all and the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
It is also not only students who are victims and perpetrators of this violence, but also those who have a responsibility of care - teachers and other school staff. Irrespective of where the violence takes place, gender-based violence has the potential to limit victims’ participation in the economy and in society, and to negatively impact the workplace. In the educational sector, gender-based violence is a fundamental violation of human rights; education unionists can take action to make sure that schools and all other educational institutions are safe and secure spaces for workers and learners alike:
· Click here for information on how your union can contribute towards ending SRGBV.
· Details on what your union can do to secure a binding ILO standard on gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work can be found here