An emphatic and united call was made by women inside the People’s National Party this morning, for lawmakers to [break the bias] and apply a gender lens as they enter the annual budget debates.
As part of the PNP Women’s Movement “Women’s Week” activities, President of the Movement, Mrs Patricia Duncan Sutherland, impressed upon lawmakers to be bold and progressive, to genuinely commit to dismantling the economic, social and political biases that hold women back in Jamaica.
“It’s time to put the money where the mouth is. The Gender Pay Gap is one of the urgent issues that we must take action to solve! We speak highly of how we value women in this country, we know they are predominately heads of household and primary caregivers yet do nothing to correct the culture of paying them over 30% less than men who do the same work they do,” Duncan Sutherland shared.
“The Equal Pay for Equal Work Act gave us a start but it is time Jamaica implemented legislation to ensure wage transparency, compelling companies to publish a salary range for positions so the practice of underpaying women can become less prevalent. This is an approach that will be introduced in New York this year and has already been implemented in states like California and Washington,” she said.
Member of Parliament, Dr Angela Brown Burke, the Party’s first female Chairman, also made clear the need to “genderize” our approach to law-making and in education.
“To break the bias, we must all understand and accept that the bias exists, then we can deliberately act to break it. We need the budget to include allocations for the training to raise awareness in our country. This is needed for our Parliamentarians, our Councillors, our Educators, our Guidance Counselors, CPFSA Officers, and SDC officers,” she shared.
She continued, “If we can begin to collect more data, disaggregate the data so it tells the story of geographical, gender, age and other forms of biases and makes that data available so we can use it to improve resource allocation and decision making. Let’s enable our people to genderize our solutions and break the bias.”
Duncan Sutherland took the opportunity to again call for the Domestic Violence Act to be reformed to ensure that evidence-based prosecution can be pursued against abusers.
She added, “It is the bias that women face that make many too ashamed to report and pursue justice when they are abused. That bias benefits men. We need Evidence-based prosecution and we need to put a domestic violence centre in every police station to ensure women have real access to a safe space to report domestic abuse.”