U.S. Strongly Supports ILO Focus on Gender Based Violence in the Workplace

Statement of the United States Government

Agenda Item 2 on the Agenda of the International Labor Conference (2017-19)

March 26, 2015, Geneva, Switzerland

 The United States would like to voice its strong support for a standard-setting item on the issue of “Violence Against Women and Men in the World of Work.”

As the ILO has noted previously, gender based violence is “the most prevalent human rights violation in the world” and its existence is a “major challenge to the goal of equality between women and men.”

In the United States an estimated 2 million workers are victims of various forms of workplace violence each year.  The costs to businesses include the temporary or permanent absence of skilled employees, psychological damage to victims, productivity impediments, diversion of management resources, increased security costs, increased workers’ compensation costs, and increased personnel costs.

Women are often at increased risk and special attention must be given to those industries that are disproportionately female, such as the apparel industry, domestic work, health care and social services, and many of the lower paying jobs in the retail and hospitality sectors.  Additionally, there is insufficient attention given to how sexual violence pushes women out of their chosen fields, particularly in the sciences and technology.

The resources and expertise of this organization are uniquely suited to addressing the appalling abuses that millions of workers face everyday in the workplace.  We urge the Governing Body to place this item on the agenda of the International Labor Conference.

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