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Orange Our World to End Violence Against Women

Orange Our World to End Violence Against Women

There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.” – Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General

25 November 2019 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  This date marks the brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic.

On 25 November 2019 and the ensuring 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence which follows (ending on 10 December 2019, Human Rights Day), IEUA joins with ACTU unions to call attention to the urgent need to end violence against women and girls.

Consider the Facts

Violence against women has been described as a ‘global epidemic’ as it is the most widespread form of human rights violations.   It affects women of all ages, race, culture and socio-economic situation.

 Violence against women is the leading cause of death and disability of women no matter their age.

  • 35.6% of women experience physical or sexual intimate violence by partner, or non-partner, in their lifetime.
  • Every 10 minutes somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence.
  • 71% of victims of human trafficking are females and 75% of these are subjected to sexual exploitation

Violence and harassment in the world of work is a global phenomenon that disproportionately impacts on women, prohibiting them from fully realising their human rights.

A World Without Violence is Possible

In June 2019, a ground-breaking Convention and Recommendation to eliminate violence and harassment at work was successfully negotiated and adopted overwhelmingly at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva.   This two-year negotiation included ACTU and other world trade unions, ILO member governments and employer organisations.

The historic ILO Convention 190 and Recommendation 260 establishes for the first time, an international standard to prevent and eliminate violence and harassment at work and places obligations on governments to develop national laws prohibiting workplace violence and on employers to take proactive steps to prevent violence and harassment.

The Australian Government voted in favour of the Convention 190 and the associated Recommendation 260 to eliminate violence and harassment at work.

The official adoption of C190 and R206 was a key milestone for labour rights and women’s rights.

Violence against women has been recognised as a human right violation since 1993 UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna.  However, it has taken until the adoption of this Convention and Recommendation to have a dedicated instrument that specifically addresses gender based violence in the world of work.


Time for Action.  Orange the World in 16 Days.


Our work is not complete

Now it is time to advocate for the ratification of C190 and R206.  The Convention can not be implemented until world governments seek to ratify it.

By wearing orange and participating in the global campaign ‘Orange the World in 16 Days’  IEU members can join in the global collective call to ratify ILO C190. 

This global action will bring about public awareness of the new ILO instruments and a greater demand for their ratification and implementation.

Once ratified by national governments, C190 and R2016 can be implemented by governments, unions and employers.


IEU members join with the ACTU and call upon on the Morrison Government to

  • Ratify and fully implement the Convention 190 and Recommendation 206.
  • Implement stronger powers for the Fair Work Commission, as well as work health and safety regulators and human rights commissions to proactively address violence, inequality and discrimination at work. And
  • Establish a gender equality panel in the FWC that would have the power to hear and determine sexual harassment and sex discrimination claims


From 25 November 2019 – 10 December 2019,  IEU members can #orangeourworld and  #RatifyILO190

By wearing an item of orange clothing (the colour chosen by the UN to represent the day) and sharing a photo and messages with UN Women  social media and with their IEU Branch, IEU members can join the global campaign to eliminate gender violence.

In addition, donations can be made to support women and girls across the world to live free from violence via the UN Women website