Leading NFP pushes to turn #MeToo movement into legal change in the workplace


CARE Australia is pushing for a global treaty aimed at reducing the ongoing threat of violence and harassment in the workplace.

The new measure would require the support of governments and workers to implement the scheme. The scheme is currently being debated in Geneva by members of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the global body tasked with protecting workers.

“Violence and harassment in the workplace is a global issue. It needs a global response,” CARE’s Head of Global Advocacy, Glen Tarman, said. He added that the legally binding convention would offer a global opportunity to turn #MeToo into a critical change.

“More than one third of the world’s countries do not have any laws prohibiting sexual harassment at work and there is no international legal standard to specifically protect women at work from harassment and abuse. It’s time to put that right.”

The international aid organisation is pushing for greater standards to protect women and men against sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace and has collected over 100,000 signatures globally in support of their #ThisIsNotWorking campaign.

“The scope of the ILO Convention and Recommendation must reflect the needs of the women CARE supports,” Tarman said, adding that “the most marginalised citizens – including garment workers, agriculture, domestic workers, and those living in extreme poverty – [must] have protections.”

Currently more than 50 per cent of the world’s working women are operating in a vulnerable employment environment without the adequate protection by labour legislation. In Asia this is as high as 80 per cent of female workers.

Research conducted in Cambodia by CARE found that 1 in 3 garment workers were confronted with violence and abuse in the last 12 months and the productivity cost of harassment is estimated to be more than $117 million per year. Tarman is calling on senior bodies to commit to ending this cycle.

“We need governments, business and unions to support an ILO Convention – a legally binding treaty that can be taken forward in every country for women everywhere.”