NLC, centre move against gender-based violence in workplaces
The prevalence of gender-based violence and harassment is high in the workplace in the country due to non-ratification, adoption and domestication of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 on elimination of gender-based violence by the Federal Government.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Solidarity Centre AFL-CIO said at a training for labour rights reporters in Abuja, that the Convention is the first international standard on violence and harassment in the workplace, which is designed as a framework for national governments to adapt.
It is also a pro-worker advance in how work is defined and where workers are protected and also a product of a campaign driven by global trade unions.
While explaining that the convention is not limited only to issues of harassment of women within the workplace, Head of Department, Women and Youth of the NLC, Rita Goyit, added that some cultural norms have also stereotyped women in certain social conditions that expose them to uncomfortable situation within the workplace and the wider society.
She also clarified that sex and gender, though similar, do not have the same meaning.
“When sex is referred to, it means the human physiology. The features that distinguish women from men. On the other hand, gender means the way men and women are perceived in the society. There are certain jobs that the society allocates to women and men. Most domestic jobs are for women. Why? When growing up, there are certain house chores that are meant for women. Even at work, women face many barriers that limit their professional growth. Therefore, there are some inequalities in the workplace that do not favour women. When we talk about gender balance, we are simply saying let both men and women be exposed to the same opportunities in the workplace. There is urgent need for the removal of all barriers that are threatening carrier growth of women,” she explained.
While Goyit faulted the non-ratification of the Convention 190, she was quick to add that simply ratifying the convention would not lead to desired changes, until traditional and cultural barriers against women in the larger society are discontinued with.
On his part, the Country Programme Director of Solidarity Centre, Sonny Ogbuehi, said media remains a key ally in the fight to eliminate Gender-Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) in the world of work.
He also explained that gender equality does not focus on women as an isolated group, but rather, it recognizes the roles and needs of both women and men, adding that inputs from both sides are required to achieve gender equality.
The convention 190 applies to violence and harassment in the World of work, which include places where workers are paid, take rest break or meals, washing and changing facilities; during work-related trips, travel, training, events or social activities; through work related communications, including those enabled by information and communication technologies; in employer-provided accommodations and when commuting to and from work.
The convention also recognizes right to world of work free from violence and harassment; emphasis is on addressing root causes of violence and harassment; recogniSes how work is fissured particularly precarious work which fosters climate of violence and harassment; recognizes need to have a wide range of actionable consequences for behaviour; recognizes the need for an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach for the prevention and elimination of violence and harassment and approaches must address violence and harassment involving third parties.