Gender-based Violence at Work

Women around the world are disproportionately impacted by gender-based violence including sexual harassment and assault at work. Millions of female workers are forced to work in an intimidating, hostile or humiliating environment, and experience various unwelcome forms of sexual conduct. Women are asked for sexual favors, exposed to inappropriate jokes, insinuations, and comments, and unwanted physical contact that can amount to assault. Despite its massive scale, sexual harassment at work remains under-reported because of fear of disbelief, blame, social or professional retaliation, retaliatory civil or criminal charges, or loss of legal residency status.

After years of advocacy and negotiations, in June 2019, the government, employer, and worker members of the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a groundbreaking treaty known as the Violence and Harassment Convention (C190). The treaty is the first to set international legal standards for preventing and responding to violence and harassment in the world of work. In June 2021, C190 went into legal effect under international law.