ILO Caribbean Office participates at virtual launch of the CEC-CCL Joint Regional effort under the Spotlight Initiative

Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) unite on a collaborative approach to develop joint regional policies and advocacy strategies for the eradication of violence against women and girls at the workplace level.

News | 07 April 2022
The Joint Spotlight Initiative1  gained momentum when the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) united on a collaborative approach to develop joint regional policies and advocacy strategies for the eradication of violence against women and girls at the workplace level. The virtual media launch of this collaboration took place on 6 April 2022.

During her feature address, Ms. Alison Drayton, Director, UNFPA Caribbean Sub-Regional Office, emphasized the importance of the joint effort. “This project will promote gender equality and women's empowerment in the workplace. Participants will be exposed to concepts, policies and practices for addressing gender-based violence in the workplace through easy-to-understand and relatable text and video. We expect this to lead to an increase in the knowledge of young, vulnerable and marginalised women and male allies about national policies on sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as broaden their understanding of gender equality,” she said.

Violence against women continues to play a significant role in the home and the workplace. Lars Johansen, Deputy Director, ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean explained, “There is a clear link between the home and the workplace that cannot be ignored. The workplace can contribute to being a support structure for survivors of gender-based violence – a safe place to provide legal advice, support and other resources to victims. Also, work and income can provide an opportunity to survivors of domestic and family violence to leave the situations that they are in. This is why this project is so important.”

“There is a glaring inconsistency between legislative commitments, policies and action. In the months ahead we must do the hard work to create the necessary framework to safeguard our places of work against all forms of gender-based violence. We in the CCL are fully committed to this effort and we are here to be counted as an ally in this cause,” affirmed Mr. Andre Lewis – President, CCL.

Mr. Wayne Chen – President, CEC also supported this view adding the importance of male involvement, “A collaborative approach, like this, can certainly make real and tangible improvements to the lives of women and girls. And by extension men and boys also, because it is not just women and girls who can be liberated from the stain of violence.”

“The underlying base of gender-based violence is rooted in long-standing historical, cultural practices. The hardest change is the change of mindsets in a society that has been male dominated for centuries. We have the responsibility to change the minds of our colleagues and younger men to move away from these issues. It is necessary. We will lead by example and we will lead as mentors and we have a commitment to making this happen,” Mr. Chen added.

The Joint Regional Effort between the CEC and the CCL under the Spotlight Initiative will run over a six-month period from April to September 2022.This venture is a significant opportunity for employers, workers, and their representatives to create and shape workplace policies and cultures to directly confront gender-based violence.

On 18 May 2022, employer organizations and labour unions will meet for a one-day conference with the aim of reviewing a working policy document that will address gender-based violence in the workplace.

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The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the EU and the UN to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.