In its press release yesterday, the EU Commission announced the adoption of a proposal for a Council Decision allowing Member States to take forward the process of ratifying at the national level the Convention on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.

Only Member States can ratify ILO Conventions because the EU itself is not a member of the Organisation. When an ILO instrument touches on EU competences, a Council decision authorising ratification is required.

The new Convention was adopted during the International Labour Organization (ILO) Centenary in June 2019. The campaign for C190 was initiated by women trade unionists many years ago, fighting for the elimination of gender-based violence at work. It gathered momentum and obtained global consensus culminating with the adoption of a new international instrument for everyone, the first to set global standards on harassment and violence in the world of work.

According to the survey on violence against women conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 1 in 2 women in the EU said they have experienced some sort of sexual harassment at least once since the age of 15. Of all sexual harassment, in 32% of the reported cases, the perpetrator was someone related to the woman’s employment (colleague, boss or customer).

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