Violence and harassment, including that in the workplace, disproportionately affect marginalized women and gender-diverse and Two Spirit people.
Ottawa (25 Nov. 2019) — Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Despite hard-fought advances in gender equality in Canada, today serves as an important reminder that much work remains to eliminate violence against women and gender-diverse people, or, more broadly, gender-based violence (GBV).
“Workers’ rights are also women’s rights,” said Larry Brown, NUPGE President. “Today and every day the National Union works to advance the rights of all workers — members and non-members, unionized and non-unionized workers — to foster a more just and equal society for all, regardless of gender.”
Honouring victims and survivors
First and foremost, we take time today to acknowledge those who are victims and survivors of GBV. We remember those we have lost to violence and we stand in solidarity with those who are presently victims or survivors of GBV.
Uneven effects of gender-based violence
When we talk about GBV, it is crucial that we acknowledge its uneven effects. Violence and harassment, including that in the workplace, disproportionately affect marginalized women as well as gender-diverse and Two Spirit people.
Numerous studies show that poor women, racialized women, Indigenous women, women with disabilities, immigrant and refugee women, and LGBTQI2S+ people face disproportionately high levels of violence, with those at the intersections of systems of oppression even more likely to experience violence. They may also face barriers in accessing supports or seeking justice, such as the potential for further discrimination, revictimization, or loss of job or status.
Violence against Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people
In the Canadian context, we must acknowledge the history of colonialism and its ongoing effects today, which mean that Indigenous women and girls, and gender-diverse people and their communities, face abhorrently high levels of violence, discrimination, and trauma.
To address this ongoing legacy of colonialism, we reiterate our call for the immediate implementation of the 231 Calls for Justice contained in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Eliminating violence in the world of work
Addressing workplace violence must be part of this conversation, too. As a union representing largely public sector workers, we know that public sector workers, particularly those doing care work, or those who are precariously employed, the majority of which are women, are especially vulnerable to violence in the workplace.
Strong laws, protections, and supports for workers, such as those outlined in the new ILO Violence and Harassment Convention (No. 190), are crucial to protecting workers and to tackling GBV — both at work and at home.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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