UNDP urges Jamaica to implement paternity leave

Thursday, November 22, 2018

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THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is urging the Government to grant paternity leave to working fathers of newborns as national debate heightens on the topic.

UNDP Resident Representative Bruno Pouezat, in a media release yesterday, disclosed that that programme has adopted the gender-inclusive policy at its Jamaica country office and across the world with good results.

“In our local office, men enjoy four weeks of paternity leave with full pay to support the mother, and care and bond with the newborn child,” the resident representative outlined.

“We encourage Jamaica to implement paternity leave because UNDP staff, men and women, can testify that paternity leave improves family life and boosts male responsibility,” he added.

Pouezat was addressing the Amazing Men Awards ceremony in honour of International Men's Day on Monday at The University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters when he made the statement.

Four men from UNDP's Rejuvenating Communities social cohesion project were honoured, along with a number of men's groups.

In lauding the Amazing Man Awards event, Pouezat said prevailing negative must not be allowed to overshadow those men making a positive difference.

“It is important to signal to men who are doing the right thing that we see them, we appreciate them, and we need more of them,” he said.

The UNDP resident representative called on the individual and group awardees to become activists championing the equal, fair and respectful treatment of women, girls and children and joining the upcoming 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence starting on Sunday.

In lauding the awardees, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia “Babsy” Grange said the recipients “exemplify the heart of philanthropy” by giving of their time, effort and personal resources to help to nurture outstanding men and boys.

Grange said the Government acknowledges that gender equality cannot be achieved without engaging and integrating men and boys in the conversation.

“The contribution of men and boys is significant in addressing violence against women and girls, identifying the destructive stereotypes that served to normalise gender inequality, and recommending solutions to remedy these issues,” she said.

The International Men's Day event was jointly funded and coordinated by UNDP, the Bureau of Gender Affairs and the Citizen Security and Justice Programme III. The all-day programme also included a consultation on paternity leave and a panel discussion dubbed 'Big Man Vibes'.

The four men honoured under UNDP's Rejuvenating Communities project are: Wayne Bartley, Tivoli Gardens; Earle Malcom, Denham Town; Nicolas Campbell, Hannah Town; and Wayne Williams, Fletchers Land. The Bureau of Gender Affairs also honoured a number of men's groups.

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