UNI Africa has launched an extensive anti-harassment campaign in Côte d’Ivoire aimed particularly at addressing the challenges faced by women in the security sector. The campaign kicked off with a three-day training session focused on empowering workers, through leadership training on organizing, collective bargaining skills and awareness about workplace violence.

A group of 25 workers, including 15 women and 10 men, from UNI’s Ivorian affiliate SYNASCI, participated in the programme. They received specialized training to enhance their leadership capabilities and were also part of a mentoring programme designed to bolster their roles in combating workplace harassment.

The campaign highlights critical issues such as the lack of gender-specific facilities like separate locker rooms and toilets, uniforms designed for male bodies, and sexual harassment. Some men in the sector have been known to exploit their superior authority to demand sexual favours in return for work in preferred companies, and women who are refused are undermined or even lose their jobs. These conditions have made the workplace an extremely challenging environment for women, often leading to job insecurity and professional setbacks.

In response to these issues, UNI Africa has taken a proactive stance. “This campaign is a response to the urgent call from women within the sector who face daily injustices that are often overlooked,” said Keith Jacobs, Regional Secretary of UNI Africa. “Our goal is to ensure that every worker, irrespective of gender, experiences a safe and respectful work environment. Empowerment through education, advocacy and organizing are key to changing the narrative.”

As part of the campaign, participants were given posters to display at their workplaces to promote awareness and encourage more discussions on these pivotal issues. Feedback from these initiatives will be used to further refine the campaign and expand its reach.

UNI Africa plans to extend this campaign to all union sectors across the continent and, if necessary, adapt it to other sectors facing similar challenges.

This initiative marks a critical step in UNI Global Union’s efforts to foster a harassment-free workplace where women can thrive without fear of discrimination or abuse.