November 25 — International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

“We should be long past the days where we turn a blind eye to women and girls suffering from violence,” — Elisabeth Ballermann, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer

Ottawa (22 Nov. 2017) — November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The day was designated by the United Nations in 1999 based on a resolution that marked the anniversary of the death of 3 sisters who were political activists, Maria Teresa, Patria, and Minerva Mirabal, who were brutally murdered in the Dominican Republic on November 25, 1960. The Mirabal sisters had fought tirelessly to end the Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship. It was on the orders of Trujillo that the sisters were assassinated.

The facts show it all

The United Nations estimates that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. However, some national studies show that up to 70% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.  Worldwide, up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under the age of 16.

In Canada, approximately every 6 days a woman is killed by her intimate partner. 67% of Canadians say they have personally known at least 1 woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse. Aboriginal women are killed at 6 times the rate of non-aboriginal women.

Violence against women in the workplace

Violence against women comes in many forms, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, physical, psychological and verbal abuse, intimidation, trafficking and forced labour, and domestic violence.

In recent months, campaigns such as #MeToo have revealed the shocking number of women that have experienced sexual harassment or assault by men who held influence or power in their workplace and livelihood. These have been high-profile cases because the perpetrators are public figures. But we know that these events take place every day in nearly every workplace around the world. And often these women face economic or physical vulnerability at work, including insecure jobs, poverty wages, physical isolation, and unsafe work.

Trade unions need to fight and protect women workers from all forms of violence 

The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) is calling on trade unions worldwide to act to stop violence against women. The IUF highlights the fact that trade unions are in the best position to fight and protect women workers from all forms of violence. IUF is calling on trade unions to take comprehensive and far-reaching action to compel governments, employers and our own members to stop all forms of violence against women.    

Long past the days of turning a blind eye

“We should be long past the days where we turn a blind eye to women and girls suffering from violence,” stated Elisabeth Ballermann, Secretary-Treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). “NUPGE, along with its Components and members, will continue to fight for governments and employers to open their eyes and take concrete action to stop violence against women in the workplace, in the community, and at home.”


NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE

 

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