The Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) has been a strong advocate for women’s empowerment and equal rights for over two and a half decades. As we celebrate this International Women’s Day, CPDC takes this opportunity to re-affirm our commitment and support of all efforts to advance gender equality in the Caribbean.
As we press for progress, we wish to bring your attention to the recently proclaimed Law on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in Barbados. We call upon the Barbadian government to ensure that this law is enforced, adhered to and when breached penalized. We commend the relevant stakeholders for ensuring that the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Act 2017 did indeed become a reality. The enactment of this law has been long overdue not only in Barbados but regionally. Though the law is gender neutral, providing protection for both men and women, statistically, women have been disproportionately affected by this form of harassment. This makes this law all the more timely.
Furthermore, we encourage Barbadian employers to comply with the six-month deadline to introduce and/or reinforce the practices outlined in Section 4 of the Act which mandates that all employers introduce “a clear Sexual Harassment Policy Statement, which should be issued by the Employer to each Employee on the commencement of their employment”.
We encourage our colleagues in civil society to uphold and reinforce the standards associated with this law to ensure, that, within the sector, there are always in compliance. Moreover, we urge them to foster a culture of intolerance to workplace sexual harassment within their organizations.
Collective action and shared responsibility for driving gender parity are and have always been key propellants in the fight for gender equality thus far. We continue to urge all Caribbean governments to move towards accomplishing the vision and ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are adopted and implemented in their countries. In particular, that SDG 5: Gender Equality is achieved in part through the eradication of sexual harassment in the workplace in the Caribbean.
We firmly believe that as women’s circumstances in life improve, families and by extension communities and nation-states, also achieve a higher standard and quality of living. CPDC will always be an ally in the struggle and continue to press for Women’s Equality and Equity