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2022 Virtual National Women's Conference
15 October 2021

Conference acknowledges the endemic nature of abuse, harassment and violence faced by women on a daily basis. The tragic murders of Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry Nicole Smallman, Sabina Nessa and many other women in the past year have brought to the forefront the scale of violence against women and reinforced how unsafe many women feel in their daily lives.

Male violence threatens women in all areas of their lives – in homes, workplaces, and in public and digital spaces. In addition, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, evidence has shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic abuse, has intensified.

In the UK:

? More than four-fifths of women have been subjected to sexual harassment.

? 1 in two women have been sexually harassed at work.

? 4 out of 5 women who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace didn’t feel able to report it to their employer.

? Almost one in three women aged 16-59 will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.

? One in two women feel unsafe walking alone after dark.

The focus of the response from the police and government to recent events has been on what women should be doing to protect themselves from violent men. Violence against women and girls is rooted in structural inequalities, power imbalances between men and women and widespread misogyny.

Conference believes that all women have a right to feel safe in their daily lives.

Therefore Conference calls on the National Womens’ Committee to:

? Lobby the National Executive Committee to make ending violence against women and girls a key long-term priority under UNISON’s Objective 2 – Bargaining and equalities.

? Work with Regional women’s committees and branches to encourage employers to become White Ribbon UK accredited.

? Work with UNISON Learning and Organising Services to develop and provide specific training for activists on sexual harassment in the workplace.

? Campaign alongside the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to ensure the government swiftly introduces the mandatory duty on employers to protect their staff from harassment at work set out in the 2021 Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.

? Work with the relevant structures within UNISON to support the principle that misogyny be recognised as a hate crime.