Descendant of the suffragettes Helen Pankhurst is calling on Hastings Independent readers to travel to Westminster on Tuesday 5 March to ask MPs to commit to ending workplace harassment. The Day of Action, led by the great-granddaughter of famous feminist campaigner Emmeline Pankhurst, is being organised by a coalition that includes CARE International UK, the Centenary Action Group, the Fawcett Society and Not the Job Campaign.

The Centenary Action Group are a cross-party campaigning coalition convened by Helen Pankhurst and represent over 100 activists, politicians and women’s rights organisations working in the worlds of domestic, international, and political policy. You can follow their campaigns on Twitter @CentenaryAction  

The coalition is aiming to target key politicians including Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd. The event is part of CARE International UK’s #March4Women month of action around International Women’s Day. Helen Pankhurst is gender advisor at the charity.

The Day of Action will be kicked off by feminist MP Jess Phillips, who founded Not the Job, a campaigning organisation against third party sexual harassment in the workplace, and Maria Miller MP, who led the Women and Equalities Committee Inquiry into Workplace Sexual Harassment. Helen Pankhurst will then lead a training session on being a change-maker.

The Day of Action will see constituents from across the country calling on their MPs to:  
• reinstate third-party harassment laws
• introduce a duty on employers to prevent harassment
• support the strongest and most progressive version of a new global law at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) later this year

More than half of UK women polled by the Trade Union Congress had experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. And Fawcett Society research has found that UK women who work in retail, hospitality and many other sectors that deal with customers and clients on a daily basis have little protection from their employer when facing harassment from third parties. 

The campaign will demand that the UK government reinstate third-party harassment laws, and introduce a duty on employers to prevent harassment. Globally the coalition, led by CARE International, is asking the UK government to support a legally-binding ILO Convention that protects all workers. According to CARE International, 1 in 3 garment workers were harassed at work in the past year and 8 out of 10 domestic workers in Latin America have been victims of workplace violence.

More than one-third of the world’s countries do not have any laws prohibiting workplace harassment, and there is no international legal standard specifically to protect women at work from these abuses. 

Katherine Nightingale, Head of Policy and Advocacy at CARE International UK, said: “The #MeToo campaign shone a light on the sexual harassment and violence faced by women across many spheres of work and in all corners of the world. This day of action will put pressure on decision makers to make sure that abuse is no longer part of any woman’s job description.

“Last June, governments, employers’ organisations and trade unions met at the ILO to agree a legally-binding convention to protect women from workplace harassment. If this new global law is going to protect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women, we need to make sure that the current draft of the convention is not watered down during negotiations this June.

“We believe that the UK government must back a convention that contains the most inclusive definitions of ‘worker’ and ‘workplace’, so that all women around the world are protected.”

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Or you can email Sascha Lavin at [email protected]
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