The Statement of the KTR Commission on Gender Equality in support of the new ILO Convention on Violence
The Statement of the Commission on Gender Equality of the Confederation of Labour of Russia
in support of the new International Labor Organization Convention on Violence in the World of Work
According to statistics, 35% of women - 818 million women globally - over the age of 15 have experienced sexual or physical violence at home, in their communities or in the workplace. Gender-based violence is a fundamental violation of human rights and a manifestation of gender-based discrimination. Whilst both women and men experience violence and harassment in the world of work, 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 in the world of work is one of the most important obstacles to women’s economic empowerment, autonomy and independence – and to the realisation of gender equality.
In Russia the social partners and society as a whole not yet give the necessary attention to gender-based violence in the world of work. In recent years, there have been practically no serious studies that would have in mind the latent nature of the problem and the variety of its manifestations. But even episodic studies of sexual harassment at work place (Levada Center, 2006, Institute of Sociology, 2009) indicate a significant scale of the problem. From 20 to 30% of respondents confirmed the existence of sexual harassment in the workplace, a third called "sexual harassment a serious social problem", a quarter - the cause of forced layoffs. According to an online survey of the largest Russian recruitment portal, at least once they encountered manifestations of work at the workplace of 70% of women. Article 133 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on coercion to sexual intercourse does not meet the realities and does not contribute to reducing the level of violence in the world of work. Thus, intrusive and cynical proposals to enter into sexual relations, indecent hints and other similar actions are not considered by Russian law as condemned actions.
Gender-based violence includes, but is not limited to, physical sexual harassment. Examples of violence, which is very often gendered, include psychological abuse, verbal abuse, put-downs, depreciation, threats of violence, bullying, intimidation, stalking, administrative, economic and financial abuse. Gender-based violence can come from employers, supervisors, colleagues, clients at work place, from members of the public during commuting to and from work. Victims of abuse might be less able to concentrate, or work productively, and their pay, position and job security may be threatened as a result. The risk of exposure to gender-based violence is often greater in jobs and sectors where work is informal or precarious, where wages are low, where workers are stopped from joining or forming trade unions and where management accountability is low.
Gendered violence is violence perpetrated against women because they are women, but It also includes violence perpetuated against those who do not conform to dominant gender stereotypes or those who do not conform to socially accepted gender roles.
There is still no universal standard at the international level that sets a baseline for taking action to eradicate violence in the world of work. Whilst some existing ILO instruments refer to violence and harassment, these instruments do not define what is understood by violence or harassment, do not provide guidance on how to address its various forms and do not cover all workers. The International Labour Organization (ILO) is working towards such a law for promote the development of a safety culture in the workplace. The eventual standard may be in one of two main forms – as (1) Convention accompanied by a Recommendation or ((2) only Recommendation. When ILO member state ratify a Convention:
it commits itself to applying the Convention in national law and practice and reporting its application at regular intervals. In the spring of 2017, a questionnaire was sent to all ILO member states, including the Russian Federation, on ILO instruments to eliminate violence in the world of work. The questionnaire will be open for submission until 22 September 2017.
The Commission on Gender Equality of the Confederation of Labour of Russia supports the International Labor Organization of the Convention on Violence at Work and urges the Government, the Confederation of Labour of Russia, The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR), and the employers' organizations of the Russian Federation:
- to support a binding instrument, known as a Convention accompanied by a Recommendation;
- to give a broad definition of violence in the world of work in its diverse and multiple forms, including physical, sexual abuse, verbal abuse; bullying; psychological abuse and intimidation; sexual harassment; threats of violence and stalking;
- to make a strong focus on gender-based violence in the world of work;
- to proceed from a broad definition of the world of work, including not only the actual place of work, but also commuting to and from work, attending a training or social events etc.
Supporting a new ILO Standard in the form of a Convention, the government, the employers' and the workers ' organizations will be signaling zero tolerance for violence, contributing to such Goals of Sustainable Development as gender equality and decent work. We are convinced that an ILO Convention on Violence will help to improve health and safety at work and improve industrial relations.