Barbados’ sexual harassment legislation, which is in draft form, will be examined shortly by the Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, and her senior staff.
This disclosure came on Monday from Minister Byer Suckoo during a courtesy call from a UN Women’s team (United Empowerment of Women), led by Regional Director for the Americas and Caribbean, Moni Pizani, and the new representative for the UN Women’s Multi Country Office – Caribbean, Christine Arab.
The minister said that since sexual harassment discussions had been placed on the front burner, Government had been receiving a lot of support from the public.
“As more people begin to talk about it, men are realising it is on their door step and it is affecting their women,” she stated.
During the courtesy call, the officials also discussed the Advancing Decent Work for Domestic Employees Project which UN Women and the Ministry have been working on. Sponsored by UN Women, the project, which started last November, has been formulated to assist Government in the ratification of the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
Arab said the baseline study on domestic work in Barbados should be ready at the end of May and stressed that UN Women stood ready to continue its support to Government.
Byer Suckoo added that domestic workers were not unionised so they had no recourse when certain issues arose.
“We knew we needed to have a better structure in place, including the provision of legislation, and the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers was a good point for us to begin to put such a structure in place,” she explained.
She stated that a lot of domestic workers suffered in silence because of fear of losing their jobs and she is of the opinion that domestic and other vulnerable workers, including gas station employees, should be empowered through legislation and representation so they could understand their rights.