GENDER focal points have been established in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that gender is mainstreamed in all policies, programmes and projects, in keeping with the National Policy for Gender Equality (NPGE).
Approximately 106 senior policymakers have been trained to date in keeping with their appointment as gender focal points.
In addition, 29 MDAs have received a Gender Equality Certification Seal, having achieved specific standards in promoting gender equality in the workplace, and signal their commitment to the guiding principles of the NPGE.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange made the disclosure in a speech delivered by acting senior director in the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Sharon Coburn Robinson, at the launch of the ‘Win-Win: Gender Equality means Good Business’ initiative on Tuesday at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew.
The joint United Nations Women/International Labour Organisation (ILO) initiative, being undertaken through funding by the European Union’s (EU) Partnership Instrument, will promote women in business and address gender inequality issues in the workplace.
Minister Grange commended the entities for undertaking the programme, noting that the Government sees achieving gender equality, equitable access to services, opportunities and resources, as developmental imperatives.
“The evidence is clear that women must be an equal part of the talent pool in order to recognise their full potential, and that means ensuring that they have an equal place in businesses across Jamaica,” she said.
She noted that the Ministries of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; and Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries signed a memorandum of understanding in 2017 to promote women in business.
The MOU seeks to strengthen collaborations in the development of programmes to encourage entrepreneurship among women, and activities that will aid income generation and reduce poverty.
Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, who brought greetings, said that the initiative is an important step towards gender equality.
“One of the biggest gaps that need to be addressed is the absence of a truly enabling environment that institutionalises support for women and men. We need the kind of environment that enhances women’s capacity and autonomy to lead businesses and become fully economically empowered in a way that really has a positive ripple effect socially, politically and economically,” she said.
She commended the Government of Jamaica for the steps taken to increase the participation of women in the labour force and generally pursue gender mainstreaming in a way that “should foster inclusive development”.
The International Labour Organization has credited Jamaica as having the highest proportion of women in middle management globally.
Ambassador Wasilewska cited the appointment of Jamaica’s first female prime minister in March 2006 as an example of the country’s progress towards gender equality.
Jamaica is among six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that will benefit from the Win-Win programme, which will be undertaken over a three-year period. The others are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, and Uruguay.
It will promote women labour force participation, decent work, income security, entrepreneurship, and economic empowerment and autonomy to enable women’s full and equal participation in society.
The expected outcomes are increasing networking and cooperation among women-led businesses; improving sustainable private-sector engagement to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals; and increased support and financial investment in women-led innovation and business ventures.
The Win-Win programme will be implemented locally by the UN Women Jamaica office.