Gender Equality Seal Introductory Session, UNDP Resident Representative Bruno Pouezat

Nov 29, 2016


Delivered to Introductory Session/Pre-Launch: Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme for Private Enterprises and Quasi-Public Bodies

Mr Bruno Pouezat, UNDP Resident Representative,

Jamaica Pegasus, November 29, 2016



Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport

H.E. Ambassador Margorzata Wasilewska, Head of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica

Dr Wayne Henry, Director General, PIOJ

Mr Warren MacDonald, President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce

Ms. Patricia Francis, Interim Lead Coordinator, United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment,

Ms. Diana Gutiérrez, UNDP Regional Hub

Leaders of the public and private sectors,

UN Colleagues,

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening.

I am honoured to join with our partners in government and the private sector in welcoming you to this introductory session on the Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme.

In private-sector words, the United Nations Development Programme will make the case tonight that mainstreaming gender equality is simply a sound investment decision. This evening, we will highlight Latin American examples that prove the value of this certification programme, and we are confident that the evidence will help you opt in favour of UNDP’s Gender Equality Seal.

Jamaican enterprises meeting this innovative standard will be the first in the English-speaking Caribbean, but they will join nearly 1500 public and private sector entities in 12 other nations. Since UNDP launched it in 2007, this quality assurance programme has seen enthusiastic adoption in Latin America on the basis of demonstrated, positive impact on productivity, efficiency, working relationships and quality of the work environment.

Gender Equality Seal certification is available to private or quasi-public bodies that go through a robust 10-step programme of continuous self-evaluation and improvement. The Gender Equality Seal signals to customers, stakeholders and partners that the entity has 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.

You will tell me, OK, it’s a good product, but do I need it? The answer is yes, we all do, because we all have a problem and the Gender Equality Seal offers a strategy to address it.

The problem is as follows. The world is committed to reaching by 2030 Sustainable Development Goal Number 5, which speaks to “Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls”. And data shows that, to get there, we need innovative action. According to the 2015 Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum, across the 97 countries surveyed, for every $100 a man earns, a woman earns on average only $52, and, while more women enrol in higher education than men, men still constitute the majority of skilled workers. 

The same is true right here in Jamaica: according to the same report, for every $100 dollars a man makes in Jamaica, a woman earns on average only $60 dollars. Other sources show that, while 64% of Jamaican professionals with a degree or diploma are women, women’s unemployment rate is double that for men – 18.4% vs. 9.6%. And despite continuing progress in empowerment, inequalities persist in political representation: women hold only 11 of 63 seats in Parliament and four of 16 Cabinet positions.  

These facts are, sadly, well-established and Jamaica acknowledged years ago the impact of persistent gender inequalities on national development. Indeed, the country should be commended for crafting, back in 2011, a National Policy on Gender Equality which seeks to ensure equal access to opportunities, resources and rewards.

At the end of tonight’s programme, I am confident that you will conclude with me that UNDP’s Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme is a pragmatic and practical strategy for your enterprise or unit’s success, as well as for progress towards the goals of the National Policy on Gender Equality and the 2030 Global Development Agenda.

UNDP works with private and public sector organizations in Jamaica to strengthen gender mainstreaming in all facets of their policies, programmes and operations. We expect a mutually rewarding experience from this new public-private partnership. The Gender Equality Seal certification process simply makes good business sense. 

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