This is an excerpt from the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center's "Unions Mark No to Violence Against Women Day."
At a Turkish-owned textile plant in the Democratic Republic of Georgia a few years ago, female employers were repeatedly forced to remain on the job without pay for hours a day. When they ultimately demanded to be released, the factory manager responded by yelling and throwing a heavy load of unfinished dresses at one woman. The blow knocked her unconscious. The factory manager returned to Turkey to avoid prosecution—but likely would not have faced charges even if he had stayed, says Bob Fielding, Solidarity Center country program director in Georgia, who described the incident.
Like the Georgian garment worker, millions of women around the world are the targets of violence—which is why trade unionists and others highlighted Nov. 25 as “NO to Violence Against Women” day.
Globally, up to six out of every 10 women experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, much of it work-related. Yet it is impossible to accurately tally incidents of workplace-related violence because in most countries, those statistics are not reflected in employer or police records. In fact, many women do not report such abuse because they fear reprisals, including the possibility of losing their livelihood. Further, they do not trust anything will be done to address the problem.
Although women on any job can experience violence, those most at risk include migrant workers, domestic workers and women in forced and bonded labor. Health services workers also are under threat at the workplace—it is estimated that 70 percent of violent incidents among nurses are not reported. However, the 218 million child laborers, female and male, are the most vulnerable to violence.
Read the rest on the Solidarity Center's blog.