Workplace violence against women is increasingly acknowledged as a serious issue that deserves attention and resources to combat it. Fair Wear Foundation has identified some of the most important risks that affect women, and particularly women garment workers, and that can lead to workplace violence.

Worker

FAQ on gender-based violence

Date: 04/02/2016

What do we talk about when we talk about Violence against Women?

One of the main problems when talking about gender-based violence is that we tend to think of violence as something very specific, like hitting someone. But violence against women can take many forms. Here are the most frequently asked questions about gender-based violence, violence against women, and the work of FWF on these topics. Read more

Why an ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment at Work is needed

Date: 08/12/2017

Both women and men experience violence and harassment in the world of work, but unequal status and power relations in society and at work often result in women being far more exposed to violence and harassment.

Gender-based violence remains one of the most tolerated violations of workers’ human rights. According to statistics, 35% of women over the age 15—meaning 818 million women globally—have experienced sexual or physical violence.


GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Violence against women is defined by the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (adopted December 1993), as ‘any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life’.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence that is directed against an individual or group of individuals based on their gender identity. GBV encompasses violence against women and girls as well as against men and boys, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI), and other individuals who do not conform to dominant perceptions of gender.


Despite these numbers, there is still no international law that sets a baseline for taking action to eradicate violence and harassment in the world of work.

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FWF Marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Date: 25/11/2017

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This year’s theme, Leave No One Behind, is especially poignant. 2017 has seen an unparalleled outcry against sexual harassment that has spread across the world. Millions of women have gone public with their stories of harassment and assault, and, in the wake of the burgeoning number of women who have come forward, the #MeToo campaign emerged. This hashtag was shared millions of times in a few short weeks, and trended in 85 countries. What before was a faceless statistic—one out of every three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex or emotionally abused in her lifetime, most often by a partner—has become our friends and family. The campaign highlighted the fact that sexual harassment is an everyday occurrence for women in all spheres of life, but we cannot forget that it particularly affects the most marginalised and vulnerable. There are many women worldwide who are still unable to speak out, and many who will not believed if they do.

Leave No One Behind is a reminder that we must make the world free of violence for all women, including those who are commonly ignored—the refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters.

Women represent the majority of garment workers; approximately 20 million women work in garment factories, mostly in concentrated in Asia, where the majority of our clothes are produced. Currently, women make up 70% of the world’s poor, and this is also most pronounced in Asia, the continent with the biggest gender wage gap. Gender-based violence in garment factories is a prevalent but preventable issue. In order to Leave No One Behind, it is necessary to alleviate the conditions that make women garment workers vulnerable—poverty, lack of education and access to power.

One of the ways that FWF is doing this is through our supervisor training programme. Along with Indian partners SAVE and CIVIDEP, FWF trains women to become supervisors and re-educates current supervisors on communication and management, with an emphasis on anti-harassment. The aim is to reduce workplace violence and economic discrimination against women in garment factories.

To learn more about FWF’s work in combatting violence against women, keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter feeds during the 16 Days of Activism between now and 10 December.

Tunisian parliament takes milestone step to address violence against women

Date: 03/08/2017

In a landmark decision, Tunisia has approved comprehensive legislation to end ‘all violence against women’. The new law, which was unanimously adopted by the parliament on 26 July, aims to address ‘any physical, moral, sexual or economic aggression’. The EU has applauded the bill, commenting that this is a ‘crucial step towards absolute respect for human rights and equal opportunities’.

The legislation introduces sweeping reforms that will make it easier to prosecute domestic abuse and it provides for judicial and psychological assistance to victims. It imposes stiffer penalties for sexual abuse in the public sphere, including the workplace. The law also expands the definitions of gender-based violence to include psychological and economic abuse, both in the public and the domestic spheres. Read more

International Women’s Day

Date: 08/03/2017 India supervisory training

Today FWF celebrates International Women’s Day, a yearly event honouring the political, economic, cultural and social achievements of women.

This year’s theme, ‘Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030’, focuses on the advancement of women and gender parity in the workforce. Equality is necessary for an economy that is sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous. International Women’s Day asks us to #BeBoldForChange—to take bold action in order to achieve the improvements we want to see in the lives of women worldwide. Read more

Resource Kit on gender-based violence now online

Date: 25/11/2016

To mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women FWF and the Training Centre of the International Labor Organization (ITCILO) are proud to launch their joint publication: the Resource Kit on gender-based violence in global supply chains. Read more

FWF participates on 20th anniversary of UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women

Date: 09/05/2016

On 25 April, FWF was pleased to participate in an Amsterdam celebration of the 20th anniversary of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. Since its founding, the Trust Fund has funded 426 initiatives in 136 countries and territories, including the first phase of FWF’s groundbreaking pilot work on preventing violence against women in apparel factories. Read more

Violence against women in the workplace: CNV Internationaal report

Date: 26/04/2016

CNV Internationaal recently published a report on violence against women in the workplace in several countries, among which Indonesia. FWF is initiating projects in the country in 2016.

For Indonesia, the report shows that gender based violence at work is a concern among women workers in the garment industry. Nevertheless, neither workplace violence nor sexual harassment are included in the country’s legislation. In 2011 the Minister of Manpower and Transmigration issued Guidelines on Sexual Harassment Prevention at the Workplace. This document establishes that sexual harassment at work is prohibited. While it is a good start, these measures are not legally binding.

The report then recommends to make legislation dealing with sexual harassment at work priority In the coming five years, one of the strategies of FWF, CNV Internationaal, Mondiaal FNV and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to increase capacities of local organisations for effective lobbying and advocacy. The Strategic Partnership Programme of the four partners will contribute to the legislation process to protect women’s safety at work.

There are currently seven FWF members working in Indonesia with about 20 factories. Most of them are outdoor garments and accessories brands.

Artwork Focus Group discussions:

Date: 06/03/2016
Most of the workers in garment factories are women, particularly in India in Bangladesh. And the personal stories of some of them have been gathered and published by Fair Wear Foundation.

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FWF’s Strategic Partnership with trade unions and the Dutch government: working to end violence against women

Date: 27/02/2016

Gender expert Jo Morris zeroes in on the work of FWF on reducing gender-based violence within the framework of the Strategic Partnership

The pathways to improvement in the global garment industry are influenced by complex social and economic dynamics. The new FWF Strategic Partnership is designed to address these issues at the different levels. Read more

FWF workshop at ILO on gender-based violence in garment factories

Date: 26/02/2016

During the ILO gender academy in November 2013 in Turin, FWF held a workshop on gender based violence and harassment in garment factories. Sexual harassment and violence against women are widespread problems in garment factories in Bangladesh and India. FWF initiated a unique programme to help women workers and their managers prevent violence.

Antiharassment Committees

Date: 17/02/2016

For many women in the Ready Made Garment (RMG) industry, harassment is an everyday occurrence. The problem is systemic – about 60 percent of women have reported some form of harassment or violence – from forced labour, to verbal and physical abuse and sexual harassment.  In more recent times, workplace violence against women has been increasingly recognised as an issue, and efforts have been made towards prevention and action to combat the problem. For example, countries like Bangladesh and India, have incorporated anti-harassment policies as part of their labour regulation frameworks. Read more

Learning experiences on the factory floor

Date: 16/02/2016

A factory manager in Bangladesh shares his experience with FWF’s Violence Prevention programme.

 

A survey on GBV at the workplace in Bangladesh garment factories

Date: 15/02/2016

Women’s Safety at Work the widespread problem of gender-based violence (GBV) in garment factories. Fair Wear Foundation has worked together with brands and factories to get solid information on the extent and scope of the problem in different countries, as well as on how much workers know about their rights. Read more

Violence against women, twenty years after the Beijing Declaration

Date: 13/02/2016

Jo Morris examines the Beijing Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption.

Violence against women is a human rights violation and a serious impediment to women’s progress in any area of life. It undercuts women’s health, prospects for education and productive work, and ability to participate as full members of their societies. Read more

The UN on Gender Mainstreaming

Date: 07/02/2016

Jo Morris talks to us about UN efforts to achieve gender equality through gender mainstreaming

Gender Mainstreaming sounds complicated – but basically means integrating a gender dimension into all policy and practice decisions. In other words it means that we all need to wear a ‘gender lens’ when we think about any policy area of public and private life – after all more than half the world’s population are women, yet women suffer the effects of many ‘gender blind’ policy decisions.

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