Corporate Planning With A Gender Lens: Private Sector Companies Receive Training In Developing Gender Action Plans
More than 20 Private Sector companies and Civil Society organizations (CSOs) benefitted from a workshop - under the “Win-Win: Gender Equality means Good Business” Programme - to support more effective and targeted corporate planning to create a more enabling business environment in Jamaica that harnesses the capacities (or contributions) of women and men equally to build back better in the wake of COVID-19.
Organized by the UN Women Multi Country Office - Caribbean, facilitators took the participants through operationalising the seven (7) step Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) which serve as the guiding platform for the Win-Win Programme. The WEPs call for senior level support for gender equality and for the treatment of different categories of women and men equitably at work – that is supporting human rights and non-discrimination in respect of disability, HIV status, rural/urban location, class, ethnicity, religion, etc. Equal pay for equal work, supporting access to child and dependent care services and implementing gender-sensitive recruitment and retention practices were some of the practical examples shared.
The seminar entitled “Workshop On The Development Of A Gender Action Plan” focused on the importance of Gender Gap Analysis Tool (GGAT) to help business leaders design their Gender Action Plans (GAP).
Echoing the International Women’s Day theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, Representative UN Women Multi Country Office - Caribbean, Tonni Brodber encouraged participants to celebrate the progress made towards gender equality in Jamaica – such as the record number of women elected to parliament in 2020 and the global recognition for the most women managers in the Caribbean – while at the same time remaining focused on threat of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s empowerment and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She added: “While women are a significant proportion of leaders in Jamaica, they remain among middle-management and the majority of these senior positions are still insufficient to ensure equal pay. We continue to see data in Jamaica demonstrating significant disparities in earned income for similar work with a female to male ratio of 0.63, and thus a gender wage gap of 37 per cent as reported by the ILO in the 2018 Gender at Work in the Caribbean Report.”
In delivering opening remarks on behalf of Ambassador Van Steen, Ricard Bardia Divins, Head of Cooperation in the Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, Belize, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and the Cayman Islands said that the EU remained firm in their commitment to mainstreaming gender equality- this was evidenced by the publication of their Gender Action Plan (GAP III) for the years 2021-2025.
He stated: “Use whatever gender analysis that is available to you to examine the relationships between women and men and the constraints they face relative to each other in achieving gender equality in any given policy area, situation or context – especially in the business environment. Recognize also that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an engendered effect on all peoples and the most sustainable plan of recovery will be that Action Plan which takes into account the diversity of gender sensitive needs of all stakeholders – especially because gender equality means good business.”
The Gender Gap Analysis Tool (GGAT) of the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs) was designed by UN Women and UN Global Compact to help companies move from principles to practice and close the gender gap. The assessment helps the global business community identify gaps in its performance on gender equality and enables companies to make informed decisions on setting goals and strategies.
Ms. Vanessa Phala, Senior Specialist for Employers’ Activities Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean at International Labour Organisation (ILO) further emphasized the importance of a sustained approach towards Goal 5 of the SDGs by private sector organizations – apart from legislative policies - even after the Win-Win programme ends.
She stated: “It is our desire to forge ahead and work with UN Women, JEF and other key stakeholders to sustain the momentum and build on the gains achieved so far. This is because; promoting gender equality at the workplace is not only the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do.’ – It makes business sense. The ILO is of the view that women remain an underutilized and dynamic talent pool.”
Jamaica is the only Caribbean country currently participating in the “Win-Win: Gender Equality means Good Business” Programme, which was created in partnership between UN Women, the International Labour Organization and the European Union to promote gender equality through the private sector by enabling women to participate in the labor market, to access decent work, entrepreneurship and autonomy, and by eliminating gender pay gaps.