We are so excited to kick off this year’s Global 16 Days Campaign, the longest running campaign to end violence against women. In 2018, CWGL adopted a multi-year theme focused on ending gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work in order to build support for a new international instrument. In June 2019, the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted the Violence and Harassment Convention C190 and the campaign shifted its focus to ratification. Before the first anniversary of its adoption on June 21, 2020, Uruguay and Fiji became the first two countries to ratify the convention which will come into force in June 2021.
In 2020, the campaign continues to call for the ratification of C190, but with a dedicated focus on informal women workers whose lives and livelihoods have been acutely impacted by COVID-19 and the unprecedented economic crisis that has followed. According to the ILO, more than 60% of the world’s employed earn their living in the informal economy and 92% of total women’s employment in developing countries is informal. They face precarious workplace conditions and are typically excluded from national labor laws and denied social protection.
The informal economy encompasses many sectors. We will highlight six sectors in this year’s campaign: domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors, agricultural workers, waste-pickers, and sex workers. These sectors illustrate the variety of circumstances in which informal women workers operate and will be used to draw attention to a range of issues faced by informal women workers arising from gender-based violence, discrimination, and COVID-19.
C190 and Recommendation 206 are crucial for holding governments accountable and assisting them in eliminating the discrimination, violence, and exploitation faced by informal women workers. We believe that advocacy efforts around C190 can be strengthened by leveraging existing obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and other international treaties as well as engaging with women’s human rights mechanisms.