Jamaica is being encouraged to grant Paternity Leave to working fathers of new-borns, by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Bruno Pouezat who disclosed that UNDP has adopted the gender inclusive policy in the 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 new-born 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.”

The UNDP Resident Representative was addressing the Amazing Men Awards ceremony in honour of International Men’s Day, yesterday, 19 November at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters. 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 Mr 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 concluded. He called on the individual and group awardees to become activists championing the equal, fair and respectful treatment of women, girls and children joining the upcoming 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence starting 25 November.

In lauding the awardees, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Hon 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. She 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 normalize gender inequality and recommending solutions to remedy these issues,” she said.

The International Men’s Day event was jointly funded and coordinated by the UNDP, the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA) 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; Wayne Williams, Fletchers Land. The BGA also honoured a number of men’s groups.

UNDP promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment as essential to sustainable development. In Jamaica, UNDP helps partners advance gender equality across all the SDG and in and is currently working on promoting a gender-inclusive approach in the private sector through its Gender Equality Seal certification programme that seeks to ensure equal pay, equal treatment and equal benefits for both men and women.