International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: Let’s speak out against violence in the workplace!


Women around the world still face rape, domestic abuse and other forms of violence. Education trade unions are commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women with campaigns and marches around Europe.

We are pushing back against gender-based violence to build safe and secure learning and teaching environments for all students and education personnel, based on mutual respect, trust and universal values.

This year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women has the theme ‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!’ A global wave of action will send a strong statement that it is time to end the social environment where pervasive gender stereotypes normalise gender-based violence and harassment.

According to an EU-wide study on violence against women by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), one in three women in the EU has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since she was 15 years old. ETUCE actively and continuously supports its member organisations in preventing and combatting gender-based violence and harassment in the education sector. A revised ETUCE Gender Equality Action Plan, designed as part of our project 'Empowering education trade unions to address gender equality in the teaching profession through social dialogue', contains a chapter on gender-based violence and harassment which offers trade unions the necessary methods and tools to address the problem in their own countries.

On 21 June 2019, the 108th Centenary ILO voted in favour of the Convention and Recommendation on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work This could be a powerful tool for unions in their struggle to make the workplace safer for all. Education International (EI) and ETUCE call on all member organisations to double their efforts in lobbying their governments to ratify and implement the ILO Convention and Recommendation.

More than 50 trade union female leaders have signed an ETUC letter to the President-designate of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Equality Commissioner-designate, Helena Dalli. The letter proposes that the EU steps up its action on violence against women, and ETUCE European Director Susan Flocken is among the signatories. Susan Flocken commented, “Schools and education institutions should be a safe place for all staff and students. But sadly we do see gender-based violence, which has a damaging effect on the learning environment of students and the working environment of teachers, academics, and other education personnel.”

Why does gender based violence persist in education workplaces Full Labels

To draw further attention to this topic, the UN organises 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and Harassment from 25 November to 10 December every year. In France, several of our partner organisations took part in the Marche #NousToutes contre les violences sexistes et sexuelles in Paris on November 23. Other trade unions from Armenia, Italy, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom are also initiating projects to address this important issue. These actions include sending co-education materials to schools, messages of support, surveys and workshops. EGITIM SEN in Turkey started a campaign “We Want to Live Equal and Free” which will run from 25 November 2019 to 8 March 2020 to initiate a discussion with women workers in the workplaces and raise awareness about gender-based violence and elimination of women's gains.