Release of two new UN reports reminds governments to prioritize ending GBV in the world of work

Ending gender-based discrimination and violence is a global priority that requires collective action. On July 6, 2020, the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls presented their new thematic report on Women’s Human Rights in the Changing World of Work at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council and called on governments to ratify ILO C190 and C189. The report was launched via webinar on July 22, 2020. It examines the effects of four key trends in the world of work – technological change, demographic change, accelerated globalization, and environmental degradation accompanied by the shift towards sustainable jobs – on women’s human rights. It predicts that “women in the most vulnerable forms of informal work will be the most harshly affected” by some of the negative outcomes of these trends in the absence of a gendered analysis. A website has been specially created for the report to make it more accessible and enhance its use as an advocacy tool. To see key highlights from the report about women workers in the informal economy, check out our latest blog post on the report.

During the same session, on July 8, 2020, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women,   presented a new report on combating violence against women journalists (VAWJ) to the Human Rights Council followed by a webinar on July 29, 2020, hosted by CWGL and co-sponsored by UNFPA. The webinar provided a platform to discuss key findings of the report and practical strategies to implement its recommendations. The report details how women journalists reporting on women’s issues and gender-related topics are facing increasing violence and threats in the form of physical and sexual assault, and online attacks such as harassment, doxxing, and revenge porn. Further, like informal workers, journalists are facing increasingly irregular employment arrangements and work in the gig economy with limited or little protection and benefits. To learn more, check out our blog post on the Special Rapporteur’s report.

Both reports call for the ratification of ILO Convention 190 which is described as an important instrument for upholding and defending women workers’ rights to be free from GBV in the world of work. They examine a range of challenges to achieving this goal, especially as the world of work continues to transform and expand from physical spaces to digital ones. The release of these two new major UN reports concerning women’s human rights in the world of work reminds governments that ending GBV in the world of work must be an urgent priority. This message is underscored by the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s livelihoods and safety worldwide.