Supply Chains Free from Violence and Harassment: From Policy to Practice
15:00 - 16:30 (Bangkok time, GMT+7), 31 May 2021
Organized by RSCA programme in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
COVID-19 has had significant impacts on women, including on disproportionate job losses, increased unpaid care burdens and gender-based violence and harassment. COVID-19 has further exacerbated the risk and prevalence of gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work, including through the work-from-home modality, online and platform work, and stigma faced by essential workers, who are disproportionately women.
Global supply chains play a prominent role in employment in Asia-Pacific, in particular women workers. Women workers in supply chains make significant contributions to businesses, economies and families. However, women often face adverse working conditions due to their concentration in lower-skilled, lower paid and more precarious work, including in informality, along the supply chain. Societal norms about women’s and men’s roles and attitudes and abuse of power contribute to its prevalence and tolerance. This makes them more at risk to work-related violence and harassment.
Companies recognise the detrimental impacts and risks of violence and harassment to productivity, workplace harmony, reputation, to name a few. Companies can and are playing an important role in ensuring their supply chains are free from violence and harassment in all its forms.
A new framework was adopted by world of work institutions, recognising that violence and harassament, including gender-based violence, are unacceptable and incompatible with decent work: ILO Violence and harassment Convention (No. 190) and Recommendation (No. 206). Several countries are reviewing legislature, raising awareness and capacity and introducing ‘zero tolerance’ policies and occupational safety and health measures at the company level.. This is a transformative measure to advance gender equality in the world of work.
On the business side, a workplace results in both physical and mental wellbeing of workers which has a direct link to productivity and innovation. Fundamentally, responsible businesses cannot afford to overlook incorporating gender-responsive measures to prevent and address gender-based violence and harassment.
This session will explore challenges faced by women workers in Asian supply chains, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and in relation to the prevalence of gender-based violence across supply chains. The discussion aims to provide practical ideas on how companies can ensure their supply chains (domestic and international) are free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment.
The key objectives of this session are to:
Open space to reflect challenges faced by women workers in Asian supply, chains especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and regarding increased gender-base violence and harassment;
Share information about new framework to prevent and address work-related violence and harassment;
Share actionable guidance among business to prevent and address gender-based violence and harassment in their operations, including those in lower-tier supply chains;
Dissiminate good practices on addressing violence and harassment along supply chains.
Ideas to structure the Discussion
How has the pandemic affected the working conditions of women in Asian supply chains? What are the impacts of the increased risk and prevalence of gender-based violence to women’s labour force participation and employment outcomes?
Many companies that adhere to Corporate Social Responsibility or Responsible Business Conduct have their own codes of conduct on sexual harassment in place. However, violence and harassment takes many forms and some dimensions may be overlooked. What can be done to ‘build in’ protection from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence across companies in supply chains?
How are businesses practically preventing and addressing violence and harassment within their supply chains?
What can the government do to uphold the right of all to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment?