Nigeria is putting in place stronger measures to address gender-based violence (GBV) in the country’s world of work.
These measures include ILO Convention No. 190 on Violence and Harassment (2019) which Nigeria is poised to ratify.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Peter Tarfa, stated this in his address at the national symposium on Eliminating Gender-Based Violence from the World of Work, held in commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence against Women and Girls.
He stated that Federal Government still maintained zero tolerance to all forms of violence and harassment in the World of Work, while retaining its total commitment to curbing Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in its world of work.
These measures, including national and workplace, would address violence and harassment against women and men at work through standard legislation, workplace policies, and initiatives on safety and health at work as well as wellbeing at work.
He noted that for Nigeria to control GBV in the world of work, it needed to have “strong gender-perspective measures to address the growth of non-standard forms of work and its consequences, a strong legal framework, measures to tackle the causes of violence at work, including third party violence against workers, and awareness raising to increase the understanding and visibility of violence against women and men in the world of work.”
Tarfa noted that “the devastating impact of violence and harassment against women and men in the world of work, the vulnerabilities faced by women workers in non-standard forms of employment and informal work, and workers who are affected by discrimination and lack of decent work, and who are at the risk of exploitation and trafficking cannot be overemphasized.”
According to him, “addressing violence and harassment is imperative, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic where frontline workers such as health workers and workers in the informal economy are facing various kinds of violence and harassment, and losing their sources of livelihood.”
On the ratification of Convention No. 190 on Violence and Harassment (2019), Tarfa recalled that following the approval from the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) to ratify the Convention, Nigeria had commenced preliminary activities towards achieving a seamless ratification.
The Permanent Secretary stated Nigeria’s strong support to the campaign of this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence against Women and Girls, adding that the support also consolidated government’s zero tolerance to all forms of violence and harassment in the World of Work.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence against Women and Girls, an annual international campaign, is used as an organizing strategy around the world to call for the prevention and Elimination of violence against women and girls.
The Activism runs from 25th November, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10th December, which is the Human Rights Day.
Country Director of the ILO Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Vanessa Lerato Phala, stated that the society needed to believe survivors of Gender-Based Violence, adding that law enforcement agencies should create an enabling environment to encourage women to report violence against them.
According to her, if the incidents of GBV were not reported, the extent of the challenges, and how to address them would not be understood.
Other measures she listed for preventing GBV include adopting comprehensive approaches to addressing the root causes, transforming harmful societal norms, and empowering women and girls to make meaningful contributions to the society and economy