The Nigeria Labour congress (NLC) has urged the Federal Government to domesticate the ILO Convention 190 (C190) to discourage Gender-Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) in workplaces.
The Head of Department, Women and Youth, NLC, Mrs Rita Goyit, made the appeal at a virtual workshop for Labour journalists on Sunday.
Goyit expressed concern that Nigeria had not ratified or domesticated the convention, two years after the C190 was adopted in Geneva, Switzerland.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop supported by Solidarity Centre AFL-CIO, a non-profit organisation, is part of activities by the NLC to observe the 2021 International Women’s Day.
The 2021 International Women’s Day is with the theme “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world on the way to the Generation Equality Forum’’.
According to Goyit, Nigeria stands to gain a lot by ratifying the C190.
She emphasised that it would make work places free from violence and harassment while boosting productivity.
Goyit noted that it would also put Nigeria on the list of countries that promote human rights.
“When the ILO C190 was adopted, Nigerian government made a commitment that it will be among the first countries to ratify and domesticate it but that is yet to be done.
“By not ratifying the C190, most workers both in formal and informal economy who suffer Gender Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) find it difficult to express themselves.
“They suffer in silence while the perpetrators walk free,’’ she said.
Speaking, the Deputy Chairperson, National Women Commission, NLC, Hajia Salamatu Aliu, expressed NLC’s commitment to campaigns that encourage women to speak up against GBVH.
She emphasised that the campaign would be sustained to propel government and employers to protect women in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Country Program Director for Solidarity Centre AFL-CIO, Mr Sonny Ogbuehi, commended the media for their partnership and urged them to join in the campaign against GBVH.
Ogbuehi pointed out that the media had a critical role to play in ensuring that GBVH at work places are checked.
The Senior Programme Officer, Solidarity Center AFL-CIO, Ms Nkechi Odinukwe, expressed concern that GBVH often worsened by cultural, economic, ideological, political, social, environmental and health factors.
She listed them as displacement, armed conflict, terrorism, migration and increased globalisation of economic activities.
Odinukwe, however, said that the COVID-19 pandemic was another factor that worsened GBVH in the world of work since it broke.
“Within this COVID-19 pandemic period, gender-based violence especially rape and domestic violence against women workers have risen to exponential levels.
“Women who could get away from abusive partners before the pandemic now find they have to forcefully stay in same spaces with their abuser due to social distancing restrictions.
“We have seen a lot of women workers abused at home this period than ever before.
“These women workers come to work dealing with a lot of issues linked to the abuse they face at home,’’ she said.