Changing the way we use chemicals: what women should know to protect themselvesChemicals in Products
Women make up 50% of the world’s population. Of the 1.3 billion poor people, 70% are women. Women work 2/3 of the time in the world and earn only 10% of the world’s income. They own only 1-2% of the world’s property and are paid 80% less than men for the same job, in the same position.
The industry’s workforce is largely made up of low-skilled women and human rights violation remains a serious challenge. Women face difficult working conditions, low wages, lack or now health insurance, or lack of safety at work. They have strong fear of losing their jobs and have to agree on long working hours to keep their job safe. Moreover, many workplaces expose women to toxic chemicals, and often no information on their health hazards is provided leaving women unaware of the potential health effects.
This is true for many industrial sectors which are dominated by women -workers, including textile and garment sector; electronics industry; beauty salons; agriculture; informal sector (ASGM, e-waste).
Policy makers and people around the world should show support and commitment to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5) to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
In May 2021, HEJSupport was an invited scholar to speak at the Caribbean Poison Prevention Week webinar on “Gender and Chemicals”. The presentation inter alia highlights factors which make women more vulnerable, including biological factors; occupational exposure, and exposure through consumer products.