Violence against women is a trade union issue

25 Nov 2013

ITF unions at the forefront of tackling violence against women today received extra support as the ITF launched a ground-breaking new publication: ITF Action Guide on: violence against women.

For many women and girls the world over, violence is an all-too-common occurrence. According to the latest available UN statistics, up to 59 per cent of women in some countries will experience violence in their lifetimes. Women transport workers can be particularly vulnerable to sexual, physical and economic violence; many women transport workers fulfill highly visible and public-facing roles, and can often bear the brunt of passenger aggression.

The new guide shows how unions are well placed to tackle violence against women. It offers examples of best practice from ITF unions around the world to empower unions to take action on violence. It contains examples of progress, further resources to strengthen union activity, and practical tools to support union campaigning. This includes best practice advice on maximising media coverage, overcoming limited resources, and working with men and boys.

Diana Holland, chair of the ITF’s women’s committee, explained: “Millions of women worldwide today face physical and mental aggression and brutality – domestic violence and abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment, violence at work, economic violence and human trafficking. This is a denial of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“We are proud to introduce this guide for unions who want to play their part in ending the scourge of violence against women. We hope to inspire more action by highlighting some of their successes, and by sharing fresh ideas, information and resources to support campaigning.”

ITF women transport workers’ coordinator Alison McGarry further commented that violence is a trade union issue, and that every ITF affiliate exists in a society where women suffer violence. She praised the stunning work already being done by many ITF unions around the world to combat violence, and encouraged more unions to use the guide to develop their own campaigns against violence.