Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Only one woman on labour-reform commission?

Published:Wednesday | November 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir: Coming fast on the heels of the recently held IMF seminar dubbed 'Women, Work and the Jamaican Economy', the Government named an 18-member Labour Reform Commission.

The seminar, which took place September 30, set the tone of a critical conversation that saw the Government affirming commitment to employment and macroeconomic policies and economic regulations that are inclusive and equitable.

So you can imagine the distress felt that a commission that has been convened to look at several issues - education and training, productivity, technology and innovation, labour policies and legislation, social protection and industrial relations - comprises only one woman. Brenda Cuthbert was named to the body, and it would appear that she was named to represent the Jamaica Employers' Federation (JEF).

Some government entities, youth and the PSOJ, are to name representatives, but who speaks to:

The 45.3 per cent of the labour force that is female?

The reality of persistent occupational and glass-ceiling segregation in the labour force?

The persistent gender wage gap?

The need for the valuing of women's work, and furthermore addressing care economy concerns?

The more than 50,000 household workers who have been ignored by the trade union movement over the years and who are still awaiting the fulfilment of promise for the decent work convention to be ratified?

Was the affirmation of commitment to gender equity mere talk, or is it a case that there is no common agreement at the level of Cabinet on the mandate of the National Policy on Gender Equality, which the Government has adopted? Can we expect this commission with these wonderful gentlemen to champion women's gender interests?