Suva Municipal Market in Fiji - 16 Days of Activism 2013 "We want a violence free market",
Suva Market Vendors Photo: UN Women/Saleshni Chaudhary
Violence Against Women and Girls in the Informal Economy
In July 2012 the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign proclaimed every 25th of the month as Orange Day. Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign’s Global Youth Network, worldwide activities implemented on this day by UN country offices and civil society organizations strive to highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.
In 2013, the UNiTE campaign focused its Orange Days on highlighting recommendations of the agreed conclusions of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57), focused on the theme of the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Orange Day highlighted issues including safe schools, safe work places and cyber space as a safe space for women and girls. Activities culminated in a call to ‘Orange the World in 16 Days’ from November 25 and throughout the 16 Days of Activism. The Call resulted in ‘orange activities’ in over 50 countries and over 76 million people being reached through social media.
In 2014, Orange Day continues to spark actions around the world on specific themes and issues towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls. This month, UNiTE #OrangeDay will focus on violence against women and girls in the informal economy.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS WORKING IN THE INFORMAL ECONOMY
Millions of women throughout the world are employed by businesses under informal, and therefore, unregulated conditions, or work in informal sectors of the economy as domestic workers, waste pickers, street vendors and other roles, playing a vital role in the world’s workforce. As informal workers carry out their work in less formal structures, they do not enjoy the protection of the law, either because their work environments are outside of the reach of the law, or because the law is not applied or enforced. As a result, they are not protected by employment laws, may not receive benefits such pensions, sick pay and health insurance, and may work in unsafe conditions with unpredictable work schedules and receiving very low wages in comparison to workers under formal contracts.
Violence against women in the work place takes place in all countries throughout the world and takes many forms, including sexual harassment and bullying. While it affects all professions and sectors, women and girls working in the informal economy are particularly at risk from exploitation and abuse. The informal nature of their working environments means that it is unlikely that zero-tolerance policies towards all forms of violence at work will be in place, nor mechanisms by which to report violence. Women and girls who work in the informal economy may lack the power to be able to assert their right to be able to work free from violence, or from the fear of violence.
Essential to combatting violence against women in the informal economy is ensuring that women workers are aware of their rights and have the power to assert them. Women working in the informal economy are increasingly organizing into larger organizations at the local, national and global levels to increase their voice and power. International organizations such as the International Federation of Domestic Workers and Women in Informal Employment (WIEGO) bring together affiliates including trade unions and workers cooperatives to improve the status of workers in the informal economy to amplify their voices and increase their visibility. Civil society organizations are also working with women in the informal economy to support them to report and stand up against violence against women in their places of work. For example, the Fair Wear Foundation, a grantee of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, has developed innovative partnerships with garment factories in India and Bangladesh, which aim to address the root causes of workplace violence through a range of activities, such as training workers on anti-harassment laws, setting up a helpline through which workers can find out information about their rights, and supporting the creation of anti-harassment policies and committees.
The Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls, an initiative of UN Women, is an online resource designed to serve the needs of policymakers, programme implementers and other practitioners dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls. Visit the Virtual Knowledge Centre for resources on developing legislation against sexual harassment in the work place.
The UN Women Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment, an open global platform that promotes collaboration, learning and innovation, is a valuable resource aimed at advancing women’s economic empowerment. The Knowledge Gateway connects women and men in more than 190 countries with development partners from the private sector, civil society, academic institutions, governments and international organizations, and includes useful resources and the space to share and exchange ideas on how to empower women working in informal labour markets.
ORANGE DAY ACTIVITIES (25th July 2014)
This Orange Day, the UNiTE campaign will focus on violence against women and girls working in the informal economy.
What can you do?
- Raise awareness! Wear orange on 25 July and say NO to violence against women and girls working in the informal economy through your social media networks. Share your photos and messages with us at https://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE and https://twitter.com/SayNO_UNiTE
- Learn more! Visit the Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment for resources and information on informal work. Visit the Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls for resources on developing legislation against sexual harassment in the work place. http://www.endvawnow.org/en/articles/817-overview-and-definition.html?next=509
- Join the conversation: How do we end violence against women and girls in the informal economy? What strategies do you think work? Share your ideas. https://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE
SAMPLE SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGES
Today is #OrangeDay! The #UNiTE campaign calls for end to #violenceagainstwomen in the informal economy. Learn more: http://ow.ly/x2QGP
It's #OrangeDay! Wear orange & say NO to violence against women &girls working in the informal economy http://ow.ly/x2QGP v @SayNO_UNiTE
Today is #OrangeDay! Is your work place a zero tolerance zone for #violenceagainstwomen? http://ow.ly/x2QGP v @SayNO_UNiTE
On @SayNO_UNiTE campaign #OrangeDay, share your ideas on how to end violence against women & girls in the informal economy.
Say NO to #violenceagainstwomen & girls in the informal economy. Wear orange 2support the #UNiTE campaign! #OrangeDay http://ow.ly/x2QGP
Today is #OrangeDay and the UNiTE campaign is highlighting violence against women and girls working in the informal economy. Visit the Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment for resources and information on women and informal work.
This #OrangeDay, July 25th, wear orange to show your support to end violence against women and girls in the informal economy. Share your orange photos on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #OrangeDay! http://ow.ly/x2QGP via [@SayNO.UNiTE]
This #OrangeDay, the UNiTE campaign highlights violence against women and girls in the informal economy. Women working in the informal economy play a vital role in the world’s workforce but lack key social protection, leaving them vulnerable to violence. How do we end violence against women and girls in the informal economy? Share your ideas. https://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE
There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON