EU Supports 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

ADDIS ABEBA – The European Union supports the 2019 campaign to end gender-based violence in the world of work, its delegation in Addis Ababa said on Monday.

The campaign is spearheaded by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and carried forward by numerous advocates worldwide that are engaging, mobilizing and scaling up efforts.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

Close to 28% of Ethiopian women have experienced lifetime physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, according to UN Women.

This is in addition to a staggering 65% women who have to undergo some form of Female Genital Mutilation.

The world of work is no safe haven either.

A 2016 research by the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions on the situation of women in selected flower growers, textile and leather processing companies has highlighted discrimination, harassment, gender pay gaps and poor working conditions.

“Recognizing that safety from harassment and protection of rights form an integral part of the quality of job, we are working towards safeguarding rights in our projects and programs that target workers in and outside industrial parks in Ethiopia,” the EU said in a statement.

As an important step, the Ethiopian parliament approved a draft Labor Proclamation on 5 July 2019 to replace the Labor Proclamation No. 377/2003 that has been in existence for 16 years.

The revised law has introduced a rule to regulate workplace sexual harassment and sexual violence.

The European Union expressed its hope to see the new Labor Proclamation implemented.

“We congratulate the Ethiopian Government on the advancements towards gender equality,” said Ambassador Johan Borgstam, the Head of EU Delegation to Ethiopia.

“Robust legislation is key to successfully fight gender-based violence. Equal access to justice for both women and men is crucial in this regard,” the ambassador added.

A key goal of this year’s Global 16 Days Campaign is to influence a wave of ratifications for the newly adopted International Labor Organization Convention 190 that establishes global standards to end gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work.

The convention includes clear guidance for governments, employers, and trade unions to identify and eliminate discriminatory behaviors.

File Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency