Letter from Sadiq Khan, Annie Lennox, Michael Sheen, Jess Phillips, Sandi Toksvig +30

This letter was published in The Guardian online on 9 June 2019 and in The Guardian print edition on 10 June

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Over the last few years, we have come together around #March4Women to demand action to end violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. This week, world leaders have a crucial chance to answer this call, and turn the wave of global outrage following #MeToo into systemic change for women in the workplace. We call on the UK government not to waste this opportunity to champion a strong global law that protects all women.

Governments, employers and workers are meeting in Geneva for the International Labour Conference to negotiate a new global convention to end violence and harassment in the world of work. We urge them to remember the 235 million women around the world who work without any legal protection because 1 in 3 countries have no laws against sexual harassment at work. It is the poorest women who are the most vulnerable - domestic workers, factory workers, those women living hand-to-mouth who cannot afford to risk their jobs by standing up for themselves and for each other. An international law is urgently needed.

The UK government must be bold, and use its influence to ensure the convention is not watered down or negotiations derailed. Just as it did in the fight to end modern slavery, it needs to be at the forefront of those calling for the most robust legislation possible. We must end this conference with a strong and inclusive convention that provides protection for every woman, everywhere, from the Hollywood studios to the factory floors of Cambodia and serviced households of Latin America. Because abuse isn’t in anyone’s job description.

  • David Arnold – Composer
  • Claire Barnett – Interim Executive Director, UN Women UK
  • Melissa Benn – Writer and campaigner
  • Christina Blacklaws – President, The Law Society
  • Dawn Butler MP – Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities
  • Melanie C – Musician
  • Bridget Christie – Comedian
  • Biffy Clyro – Musicians Simon Neil, James Johnston and Ben Johnston
  • Anne Marie Duff – Actor
  • Paloma Faith – Musician
  • Sarah Gavron – Director, Suffragette
  • Shaista Gohir – Interim Executive Director, Muslim Women’s Network UK
  • Harriet Harman MP – Mother of the House
  • Caroline Haworth – CEO, Womankind Worldwide
  • Helen Hayes MP
  • Konnie Huq – Presenter
  • Bianca Jagger – Founder and CEO, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
  • Sioned Jones – CEO, The Circle
  • Jude Kelly CBE – Founder of WOW – Women of the World
  • Sadiq Khan – Mayor of London
  • Laurie Lee – CEO, CARE International UK
  • Annie Lennox OBE – Founder of The Circle
  • Caroline Lucas – Leader, Green Party
  • Imelda May – Musician
  • Gordon McKay – UNISON President
  • Girish Menon – CEO, ActionAid UK
  • Maria Miller MP – Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee
  • Nicky Morgan MP
  • Shola Mos-Shogbamimu – Campaigner, Women’s March London
  • Alison Owen – Producer, Suffragette
  • Helen Pankhurst CBE
  • Zelda Perkins – Campaigner, former PA to Harvey Weinstein
  • Jess Phillips MP
  • BOND Quartet – Musicians Gay-Yee Westerhoff, Haylie Ecker, Eos Counsell, Tania Davis, Elspeth Hanson
  • Michael Sheen – Actor
  • Sam Smethers – CEO, Fawcett Society
  • Lisa Smosarski – Editor, Stylist Magazine
  • Anthea Sully – CEO, White Ribbon UK
  • Jo Swinson MP – Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats
  • Sandi Toksvig – Co-Founder, Women’s Equality Party
  • Sue Vincent – Actor
  • Ruby Wax – Writer and comedian

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