After 4 years of dismantling essential public policies to combat violence against women and gender inequality, in addition to the openly misogynistic and sexist stance of the former president, working women in Brazil are once again starring social and political change. In an event for International Women's Day, where the Brazilian government announced a series of measures to promote gender equality and combat violence against women, Cida Gonçalves, Minister of Women of Brazil, stated "that this March 8th gives unprecedented attention to the condition of women in the world of work.
Proof of this is that during the ceremony, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed messages to the congress for the ratification of Convention 190, on harassment and violence in the workplace, and Convention 156, on equal opportunities and equal treatment for men and women workers, as well as a law project that seeks to ensure equal pay for men and women. "When we accept that a woman earns less than a man in exercising the same function we perpetuate a historical violence," said President Lula.
The 190 International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention is the first in the world to guarantee the universal right to a world of work free of violence and harassment and has already been ratified by 26 countries. "Today, on International Women's Day, on our March 8th of Democracy, President Lula satisfies what he promised during his campaign. We hope that the ratification process will be completed quickly and that a law will be passed to include all articles of the convention," said Juneia Batista, representative of the World Executive Boarding of PSI.
For Luba Melo, president of the PSI Women's Committee in Brazil, Convention 190 presents a series of important innovations as the first international treaty to recognize the right of all people to a world of work free of violence and harassment, and states that the initiative of President Lula to send the convention's ratification proposal to Congress "gives us hope, but we know that the fight doesn't end there because we will have a lot of work ahead of us when dealing with a conservative parliament.
Thanks to intense pressure from trade unions and women's groups around the world, Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 lay the foundation for trade unions and other stakeholders to address violence and harassment in the world of work. This is a significant triumph for the Brazilian trade union movement, in particular for Public Service International, which has been working on this issue for more than years. "For us, it is a milestone in the history of the working class, especially women, LGBTQIA+ people, black women, and women with disabilities. These are the groups that are very exposed to all kinds of violence everywhere, and also in the world of work," Juneia Batista recalled.
Convention 190 recognizes that everyone in the world of work - governments, employers, unions, and individual workers - has a role to play in providing and maintaining a work culture free from violence and based on respect and dignity for all. The campaign to ratify and implement C190 has already succeeded in getting Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, El Salvador, Panama, the Bahamas, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda, and Canada to approve the convention - in Chile the proposal has already been sent to Congress. This makes the Americas region accounted for 11 of the 26 ratifications, representing over 40% worldwide.