Media Center

Press Release


  September 13, 2007

Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Labor, Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, has called for a joint meeting of the gender affairs ministers and labor ministers of the nations of the Americas. She said the move would be an important step towards fully embedding gender equality within all the labor processes in the hemisphere by advancing gender mainstreaming progress at the national, regional and hemispheric levels.

The proposed joint meeting would also “go a long way in galvanizing the process and transforming the way in which we do business in the Americas,” Quinn-Leandro, who is also President of the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM), told her colleague labor ministers of the Americas on Wednesday, as the Fifteenth Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor (IACML) continued in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. “Making Decent Work Central to Social and Economic Development” is the theme of the conference, which ends today.

“CIM’s position was that there was a critical need to ensure that a gender perspective is integrated as a cross-cutting and permanent issue in both the Plans of Action and the Declarations to mainstream as a solid measure in realizing advances in gender equality and equity,” she told the OAS conference. Quinn-Leandro commended the Strategic Guidelines of the XV IACML for Advancing Gender Equality and Non-discrimination within a Decent Work Framework, designed to “help build the capacities of Ministries of Labor to successfully mainstream gender into their policies and programs aimed at achieving decent work for all in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

On the “feminization of poverty,” the Antigua and Barbuda labor minister cited statistics showing that women, on the whole, have limited access to productive resources such as work, land, capital, information, new technologies, natural resources and housing—which hinder their capacity to earn decent incomes. She argued for available, affordable and accessible child care facilities and flexible working hours, telecommuting, job-sharing and arrangements including parental leave and support in returning to work.

During their deliberations, the labor ministers also fully endorsed the Inter-American Network for Labor Administration (RIAL) — which the OAS created at the 14th IACML — to support capacity-strengthening for the ministries of labor, through cooperation. They also underscored concerns about unemployment among the youth as a priority for ongoing work.

Today, the ministers will continue with a focus on social dialogue, after which they will adopt the Declaration and Plan of Action of Port-of-Spain, before the Conference Chairman, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Labor and Small and Micro Enterprise Development, Danny Montano, formally wraps up the ministerial meeting.

Reference: E-216/07