Side event at UNPFII 2019: Harassment and violence against women in the world of work

Written by Anya Victoria, CWGL Consultant

Photographed by Tapio Keihäs, Chirapaq  

The Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) is committed to advancing substantive equality for women in the world of work by using an intersectional approach. For this reason, CWGL and the United States Human Rights Network (USHRN) co-organized a side event at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) to address the issue of violence and harassment against indigenous women in the world of work. 

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Tarcila Rivera, a member of the UNPFII, Executive Director of Chirapaq, and co-founder of Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas (ECMIA) and International Indigenous Women's Forum (FIMI), talked about the situation of indigenous women in the world of work. Women not only experience gender-based discrimination and violence but racial discrimination. During the side event, Melissa Upreti (CWGL Senior Director of Program & Global Advocacy), on behalf of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice (UNWGDAW), addressed the Special Procedure recommendations to Member States for the protection and advancement of the rights of indigenous women in the world of work and other related spheres. Melissa also shared information on the new International Labour Organization (ILO) instrument that the International Labour Conference (ILC) will adopt in June 2019 related to violence and harassment in the world of work. She explained this process’ relevance and the need for engagement to ensure ratification by States and its implementation on the domestic level. Participants showed interest on resorting to the UNWGDAW to highlight specific experiences of indigenous women’s rights, in addition to other UN mechanisms they usually utilize to address general indigenous issues: UNPFII, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Special Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Various participants expressed concern over the limited spaces for sharing indigenous women’s voices, emphasizing that indigenous people have wisdom and strength to resist violence. Finally, Anya Victoria elaborated on the forthcoming opportunity to mobilize in support of the new ILO instrument by engaging in CWGL’s 16 Days Campaign to end gender-based violence in the world of work. 

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The UNWGDAW, the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas (ECMIA), CWGL and USHRN co-sponsored the event. We want to thank Rosalee Gonzalez, USHRN ED and Steering Committee member of Feminist Alliance for Rights (FAR), and her team for their support in organizing this event.