CAF proposes basic guidelines to reduce the risk of gender-based violence in public works

By means of a document that provides five sections with conceptual clarifications


The risk of gender violence faced by women in the construction sector cannot go unnoticed, reflects the document 'Basic guidelines to mitigate the risk of gender violence in public works projects', prepared by CAF, Development Bank of Latin America, with the aim of supporting and raising awareness among governments in the region.    

In fact, according to data from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), only 3.7% of people employed in construction are women and 96.3% are men. Thus, of the total population employed in different economic activities, only 0.7% of women work in construction compared to 11.7% of men. During the construction phase of public works, the displacement of construction personnel could result in changes in community dynamics and new interactions with people living around the sites, as well as potential risks of certain forms of violence against women and people with diverse gender identities in the presence of unequal power relations and socio-cultural norms that condition people's behaviour according to their sex. 

In this context, CAF's contribution aims to generate work and community spaces linked to public works projects that are free of gender violence, as well as practices that prevent discrimination. Workplaces such as the construction sector must have zero tolerance for sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace. In this line, the challenge is to banish any practice that undermines the integrity of women and people with diverse gender identities who work, transit or live in the sites or areas of influence of infrastructure works, says the publication.   

Prepared by Edgar Lara López, CAF's Social Inclusion and Gender Coordinator, the publication is divided into five chapters. The first part presents the main concepts for defining gender-based violence; the second presents the types of risks of gender-based violence and the legislation on the subject. The third section sets out guidelines for avoiding, preventing and addressing gender-based violence in order to give way to the next chapter which includes some examples of behaviours that should be prohibited on construction sites and their respective areas of influence.   

These behaviours can be verbal, such as compliments, jokes and teasing, among other rejected expressions; non-verbal, such as obscene signals and whistling. As for physical behaviours, these range from touching to sexual violence, but there are also other actions related to discrimination and forms of harassment at work. 

Finally, the document proposes a tool to analyse the institutional capacity to prevent and mitigate the risks of gender-based violence of the organisations or companies in charge of the management or development of public infrastructure works.   

In this sense, there are recommendations for public works entities and binding companies to analyse their capacities in relation to knowledge of legislation and the existence of personnel trained in this area. It also suggests that the executors of works have a plan to identify and reduce the risks of gender-based violence.    

In addition, the publication 'Basic guidelines to mitigate the risk of gender-based violence in public works projects' also provides data on comparative legislation between the different Latin American countries, as well as the institutions that exist in the region and that support official programmes for the eradication of violence against women.