Gender Equality Seal gaining support among private sector companies in Jamaica

Nov 29, 2016

UNDP Resident Representative Mr Bruno Pouezat greets Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Hon Olivia ‘Basby’ Grange. Looking on are Sharon Coburn Robinson, Director in the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Mrs Allison McLean and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune

[UNDP, 05 December, 2016]:  Jamaica is on target to become the first country in the English speaking Caribbean to pilot the globally recognized Gender Equality Seal certification programme, following positive feedback from several local enterprises at a special introductory session on November 29.

One locally based multinational company has already committed while several have expressed interest in participating in the globally recognized certification programme that has been proven to boost productivity and profitability in private sector and quasi-public enterprises using gender mainstreaming strategies.

Training of Trainers sessions have already begun and include representatives of UNDP Jamaica, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and the Bureau of Gender Affairs.

The special pre-launch and introductory session at the Pegasus Hotel featured a special presentation by UNDP’s international expert based in Panama, Diana Gutierrez, and was addressed by Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, the Hon Olivia ‘Basby’ Grange, UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Bruno Pouezat, newly installed president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Larry Watson, and Patricia Francis, a former President of JAMPRO who up to recently served as the Interim Leader of the United Nations’ Secretary General’s High Level Panel for Women Economic Empowerment.

Mr. Pouezat urged representatives of companies present at the pre-launch to sign up for the programme, noting that the Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme was not only a pragmatic and practical strategy for organizational success, but also a sound investment decision.  

Mr. Pouezat in noting the robust nature of the programme’s ten step process said the award of the Gender Equality Seal signaled to customers, stakeholders and partners that the entity had achieved excellence in gender equality practices through recruitment, placement, wages, working-hour and other work arrangements, career opportunities, sexual harassment protocols and budget allocations for gender activities.

Minister Olivia Grange in her remarks urged local enterprises to do the analysis and to make the changes, where necessary, to ensure that every workplace provides equal opportunities and rewards for women and men at every stage. “Where there are barriers to women’s achievement, we must remove them. Where there are glass ceilings, we must break them. Where there is disharmony, we must bring peace and equality.” She stated.

“Equal pay and better economic opportunities for women boost economic growth—creating a bigger pie for everyone to share, women and men alike. Better opportunities for women also promote diversity and reduce economic inequality around the world. It is an economic no-brainer …” Ms. Grange observed.

Branded the Gender Equality Seal, the certification programme is being piloted in Jamaica for the first time – after a successful run in Latin America – with the support of the United Nations Development Programme in Jamaica in partnership with the Bureau of Gender Affairs and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce.  

The Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme aims to address persisting gender gaps in the workplace by encouraging the relevant entities to create equitable conditions for both men and women and establishing environments where women’s work and contributions are equally valued. Private and public sector enterprises awarded the Gold, Silver or Bronze level Seal have met specifi­c standards to promote gender equality in the workplace and are now globally recognized for this stellar achievement. The Seal has proven to garner respect and recognition for companies seeking to build international partnerships.

Supported by UNDP, more than 1400 enterprises in Latin American countries, including Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia and Mexico, have participated in the certification process and have reported impacts on employee productivity, brand reputation and profitability.   

Contact information

Gillian Scott, UNDP/UN Communications Analyst

Tel: 978 2390 – 9 Ext 2032