Protect Women’s Rights And End Violence Against Women And Girls Worldwide With This Petition

Grazia is supporting ActionAid as it stands with women and girls around the world to build a safe and equal world

ActionAid Stand With Women Nasima

by Darcy Rive |
Updated on

This year, the global coronavirus pandemic drastically altered many aspects of our lives, especially our working conditions and situations. The Covid-19 pandemic also deepened poverty and led to an increase in violence against women and girls around the world. This must be stopped – and that’s where organisations such as ActionAid come in. They've launched a petition to the government to help protect women's rights and end violence against women and girls worldwide, and they need your support.

ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty. Their unique approach is to listen to the challenges faced by women and girls and then work with them to find the best long-standing, practical solutions.

In Bangladesh, for example, many women work long hours in low-paid, unstable and unsafe jobs at garment factories. To help support these women, the charity has set up 25 ‘Rights Cafés’ where garment workers can get advice and training on work-related issues and concerns such as sexual violence and harassment, minimum wage and unfair dismissal. Run by local women, these cafés are helping women understand and defend their rights.

ActionAid Rights Cafe
Nasima - Images courtesy of Fabeha Monir/ActionAid

Nasima runs a Rights Café in Dhaka. She estimates that one-quarter of the women she speaks to have experienced sexual violence and harassment in the workplace.

“The workers come to cafés to share their stories that they cannot share with anyone else,” she says. “They are now more aware, sensitive and vocal about different issues. They recognise injustices and stand up for themselves and others. The workers are now pushing the factory management to be compliant with the laws and regulations.”

Garment worker Rahima*, who was attacked at work by a violent male colleague, started attending a Rights Café in 2018. “I gained back my confidence to work after I attended the café,” she says. “I cannot forget what happened to me but since then I have become brave. I know my rights and can fight for them. Now I want to help other younger women so they never have to go through what I faced.”

ActionAid Stand With Women
Rahima - Images courtesy of Fabeha Monir/ActionAid

Courageous women like Nasima and Rahima are working tirelessly to improve the situation for workers and fight for women’s rights. But they can’t do it alone.

Right now, the UK Government is drawing up its aid and foreign policy plans and striking new trade deals. These plans can have a huge impact – positive or negative – on women and girls around the world, including garment workers like Rahima. Future trade deals that the UK strikes could include an assessment on how they would impact the rights of women working in supply chains and factories that provide goods that we consume over here. But our government needs to make sure this happens.

It is vital that the UK stands with women by ensuring proper scrutiny of trade deals through the UK Trade Bill so that women’s rights are protected, and by ensuring UK aid continues to address gender inequality.

ActionAid has launched a petition, calling on the UK Government to protect women’s rights and help end violence against women and girls worldwide. Together, we can show the women working for change in some of the world’s poorest countries that they are not alone. That we stand with them.

Will you sign the petition today? It takes just one minute.

*Name changed for anonymity

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