Briefing 3.1
Introduction to gender-based violence in the world of work

1. Introduction

This briefing introduces definitions of gender-based violence and highlights the importance of addressing these issues within a ‘world of work’ context, connecting workplaces to public spaces, transport and housing, as well as women’s unpaid roles in the family. In the next briefing, Briefing 3.2, gender-based violence is looked at specifically in relation to global supply chains.

Summary of key points: gender-based violence in the world of work

  • Gender-based violence in the workplace is often invisible, but is a growing problem as more women enter the workforce. The most common form is sexual harassment.
  • Both women and men can be victims of sexual harassment and violence – however, it is disproportionately experienced by women.
  • The ‘world of work’ includes workplaces, transport and public places, and also takes account of women’s burden of care work.
  • Globally one in three women experiences some form of gender-based violence.

This Resource Kit focuses principally on women’s experiences of gender-based violence in the world of work, as women are the vast majority of workers at the bottom of the global supply chain and it is women who overwhelmingly experience violence and sexual harassment. Gender-based violence is reinforced by gender inequalities between women and men, where women hold lower-levels of power than men. However, it is important to note that men and boys are also the victims of gender-based violence. Unequal gender roles have negative effects on men too, as they reinforce men’s power over women and perpetuate unequal societies. In addition, ideas of masculinities are also socially reproduced and can result in gender-based oppression towards men.