BWI Statement on the 16 days of Activism vs. Violence against Women

At the start of this year’s 16 Days of Activism on Violence against Women, I am speaking out on the hidden pandemic, the surge of violence against women during the COVID pandemic. As this has been predominantly domestic violence, this is a critical time to engage on the role that trade unions should play in the support of women who are victims of abuse as well as the prevention of violence against women by working with men to address prejudices, possessiveness and aggression.    

At BWI, we have been building towards this campaign for several months by engaging our affiliates in discussions on what actions trade unions can take to address violence against women, built capacity of unions in campaigning through training and supported material development for union-based campaign actions. There has also been discussions and trainings of how ILO Convention 190 on the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work can be used in the workplace even before ratification, and we have encouraged our affiliates to engage in dialogue with governments and other stakeholders to address gender-based violence and promote the ratification of the convention.

Our efforts have been fruitful, and we are pleased at the response of our affiliates to the BWI initiative on trade union activism to eliminate violence against women and ratify ILO Convention 190. In all regions, our affiliates have taken up the call to address violence against women as a trade union issue. We are proud that over 80 affiliates in over 40 countries have pledged to take action in the 16 days of activism on violence against women campaign which started on 25 November and will conclude on 10 December, the International Human Rights Day.  

Together, we can ensure that everyone can live without fear or consequences of violence and harassment. Everyone has the right to be safe at home and work. 

Ambet Yuson

General Secretary

Building and Woodworkers International