???Achieving gender equality is important for workplaces not only because it is ???fair??? and the ???right thing to do???, but it is also vitally important to the bottom line of any organisation.???

This from Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, as she delivered the featured address at a symposium on Gender and Urban Planning.

The symposium was recently held at the National Bureau of Gender Affairs, Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael and targeted various topics under the theme, Mainstreaming Gender in Housing, Employment and Education.

In her address, Minister Byer Suckoo focused on gender equality and employment, as she explained that workplace cultures and policies should not ???favor women or men???, but ensure that ???the distribution of resources benefit males and females equally.???

Although the Labour Minister lamented that, ???gender discrimination continues to rear its ugly head across the globe in many different forms???, she assured attendees that, ???there is much legislation on our statute books in Barbados, which offers protection against such discrimination.???

She cited the Employment Rights Act and the recently passed, Safety and Health At Work Act, as examples of these measures.

It was also noted that the Ministry of Labour was currently taking steps to battle other forms of discrimination which occur within working environments through the creation of the Anti-Discrimination Legislation.

According to Minister Byer Suckoo, when this legislation is passed, it will ???protect employees from discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, religion, disease and disability.???

She added that while, ???promoting equality [in the workplace] is not difficult, it does take the commitment of management to take the necessary actions to establish guidelines and enforce them.???

Topics discussed during the symposium included: Gender and the Sexual Division of Labour and Gender and Access to Housing and Finance.

Officials of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, the Ministry of Housing and Lands, the Barbados Vocational Training Board, and the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development were among attendees.


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