The Young Urban Women Movement (YUWM) has urged the Ghanaian government to ratify Convention 190, the International Labour Organization's (ILO) treaty designed to prevent and address gender-based violence (GBV) and harassment in workplaces.
The appeal was made by YWUM Chairperson Madam Hawa Tasala Gariba during a stakeholder engagement in Accra as part of the activities marking the “16 Days of Activism Against GBV” in 2023.
Madam Gariba emphasized that the adoption of Convention 190 would establish a framework for dealing with workplace violence and harassment, offering protection to workers in both the formal and informal sectors, as well as those residing in urban and rural areas.
Citing a study conducted by Action Aid on young urban women in the informal sector, Madam Gariba revealed alarming statistics, indicating that 44% of these women experienced harassment, 49% had been sexually abused, and 41% had faced repeated sexual harassment.
She highlighted the adverse impact of such trends, leading to women being pushed away from work, rendered jobless, and hindered from achieving their life goals.
Despite YUWM's efforts in advocacy, campaigns, and engagement to combat gender-based violence at work, the issue persists, prompting the call for the government's action in ratifying Convention 190.
Madam Agnes Simpey, Deputy Director at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations' Gender Desk, assured participants that the Ministry had been actively engaging with bodies like Parliament and Cabinet to facilitate the ratification of the Convention since its execution in Geneva in July 2019.
She emphasized the Ministry's commitment to ensuring a safe working environment for women, protecting their right to work.
Madam Eugenia Ayishitu Ayagiba, Campaign Manager, Women's Rights, Action Aid Ghana, outlined the organization's investment in movements like YUWM, aiming to persuade the government to allocate resources to critical social services, especially initiatives combating domestic violence.
She stressed the importance of women working in environments free from harassment and other forms of gender-based violence.
Convention 190 was adopted on June 21, 2019, during the 108th Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. While several nations have ratified the convention since its enforcement on June 25, 2021, nine African countries, including Central African Republic, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, and Uganda, have ratified it within the continent.