Descendant of the suffragettes Helen Pankhurst calls on the UK public to help end workplace harassment

Monday 18 February 2019 - Descendant of the suffragettes Helen Pankhurst is calling on people from across the country to travel to Westminster on Tuesday 5 March to ask MPs to commit to ending workplace harassment, both in the UK and globally.

The Day of Action, led by the great-granddaughter of famous feminist campaigner Emmeline Pankhurst, is being organised by a coalition that includes CARE International UK, the Centenary Action Group, the Fawcett Society and Not the Job Campaign.

The event is part of CARE International UK’s #March4Women month of action around International Women’s Day. Helen Pankhurst is gender advisor at the charity.

The Day of Action will be kicked off by feminist MP Jess Phillips, who founded Not the Job, a campaigning organisation against third party sexual harassment in the workplace, and Maria Miller MP, who led the Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry into Workplace Sexual Harassment. 

Helen Pankhurst will then lead a training session on being a change-maker.

The Day of Action will see constituents from across the country calling on their MPs to:  

  • reinstate third-party harassment laws;
  • introduce a duty on employers to prevent harassment;
  • support the strongest and most progressive version of a new global law at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) later this year.

More than half of UK women polled by the Trade Union Congress had experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. 

And Fawcett Society research has found that UK women who work in retail, hospitality and many other sectors that deal with customers and clients on a daily basis have little protection from their employer when facing harassment from third parties. 

The campaign will demand that the UK government reinstate third-party harassment laws, and introduce a duty on employers to prevent harassment.

Globally the coalition, led by CARE International, is asking the UK government to support a legally-binding ILO Convention that protects all workers. 

More than one-third of the world's countries do not have any laws prohibiting workplace harassment, and there is no international legal standard specifically to protect women at work from these abuses. 

Katherine Nightingale, Head of Policy and Advocacy at CARE International UK, said:

The #MeToo campaign shone a light on the sexual harassment and violence faced by women across many spheres of work and in all corners of the world. This day of action will put pressure on decision makers to make sure that abuse is no longer part of any woman’s job description.

Last June, governments, employers’ organisations and trade unions met at the ILO to agree a legally-binding convention to protect women from workplace harassment. If this new global law is going to protect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women, we need to make sure that the current draft of the convention is not watered down during negotiations this June.

We believe that the UK government must back a convention that contains the most inclusive definitions of 'worker' and 'workplace', so that all women around the world are protected.

Notes for editors:

  • 40% of women in the UK have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace . 
  • Over 1/3 of countries do not have any laws prohibiting sexual harassment at work .
  • CARE research found that 1 in 3 garment workers were harassed at work in the past year .
  • 8 out of 10 domestic workers in Latin America have been victims of workplace violence .
  • Violence and harassment at work has huge direct and indirect costs, not only to the affected employees but also to the businesses that employ them. CARE research in Cambodia found that violence and harassment costs the garment sector up to USD89 million per year in lost productivity. 

About CARE International: 

  • CARE International works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. We put women and girls in the centre because we know that we cannot overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities. 
  • We are there to provide life-saving assistance when disaster strikes, and to help people rebuild their lives afterwards. And we are there to work alongside poor people and communities on long-term programmes to deliver lasting change.
  • All over the world – from hotels in Sri Lanka to garment factories in Cambodia – we document harassment in the workplace. By researching working life around the world, we are calling ‘times up’ on violence against women.
  • Last year, we worked in 79 developing countries, supporting 890 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects, to reach more than 65 million people.
  • Follow us on Twitter: @careintuk 

About Centenary Action Group:

The Centenary Action Group is a cross-party campaigning coalition convened by Helen Pankhurst. We represent over 100 activists, politicians and women’s rights organisations working in the worlds of domestic, international, and political policy and campaigns. Together, we are #StillMarching for women’s right to take part in the decisions that affect their lives. Follow us on Twitter:  @CentenaryAction  

More information:
Day of Action: https://www.careinternational.org.uk/get-involved/thisisnotworking/lobby-your-mp-say-thisisnotworking
CARE International’s #ThisIsNotWorking campaign:  https://www.careinternational.org.uk/get-involved/thisisnotworking   
CARE International’s #March4Women event on Sunday 3 March: https://www.careinternational.org.uk/march4women 

Contact: 

Jane Labous at janelabous@icloud.com or 07983268397
 

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