Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)

As part of campaign to boost awareness on Gender Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) in the world of work, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Solidarity Centre AFL-CIO has held a media training for journalists.

The training was also part of campaign to draw the federal government attention to ratify International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted the Convention 190.

LEADERSHIP reports that two years after ILO adopted the Convention 190 which discourages Gender Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) in the world of work, Nigeria government is yet to ratify or domesticate the convention.

Speaking during the virtual workshop for Labour journalists, the Head of Department, Women and Youth, NLC, Comrade Rita Goyit said despite making commitment to ratify the convention, the federal government is yet to keep its promise.

The workshop which was supported by the Solidarity Centre AFL-CIO is part of activities lined-up by the NLC to commemorate the 2021 international women’s day celebration.

Comrade Goyit said Nigeria stands to gain a lot by ratifying the convention 190, stressing that it will make work places free from violence and harassment and will also boost productivity.

She said it will also put Nigeria on the list of countries that promote human rights. According to her, “In 2019, when the ILO Convention 190 was adopted in Geneva, the Nigerian government made a commitment that it will be among the first countries to ratify and also domesticate the Convention, but that is yet to be done.”

She lamented that by not ratifying the convention 190, most workers both in formal and informal economy who suffer gender based violence and harassment (GBVH) find it difficult to express themselves and suffer in silence while the perpetrators walk free.

On her own part, the Deputy Chairperson, National Women Commission, NLC , Hajia Salamatu Aliu shared how NLC has been leading various campaigns to encourage women to speak up against GBVH and break the culture of silence society condones around GBVH.

She shared that the campaign will be sustained until government and employers do the needful to protect women in Nigeria.

Speaking earlier, the Country Program Director for Solidarity Centre AFL-CIO, Sonny Ogbuehi commended the media for their partnership and asked that they join their voices in the campaign against GBVH.

According to him, the media has a critical role to play in ensuring that issues of Gender Based Violence and Harassment at work places are brought to the front burner.

The Senior Program Officer, Solidarity Center AFL-CIO, Nkechi Odinukwe also shared how gender based violence and harassment is affected and often worsened by cultural, economic, ideological, political, social, environmental and health factors like displacement, armed conflict, terrorism, migration and increased globalization of economic activities.

She particularly mentioned that COVID 19 pandemic is another factor that has worsened GBVH in the world of work since it broke. In her words, ‘within this COVID 19 pandemic period, gender based violence especially rape and domestic violence against women workers have risen to exponential levels as women who could get away from abusive partners before the pandemic now find they have to forcefully stay in same spaces with their abuser due to social distancing restrictions.

We have seen a lot of women workers abused at home this period than ever before. These women workers come to work dealing with a lot of issues linked to abuse they face at home’.

Ms Odinukwe mentioned that C190 recognizes how domestic violence particularly can affect employment, productivity, health and safety of families and outlines how employers can recognize the effects of domestic violence on the world of work and implement policies with specific measures (like flexible work arrangement and specialized leave) that allows victims to remain employed while seeking safety.

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