KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) today launched its Sexual Harassment Policy for the party.
Party President, Dr Peter Phillips and the party's Women's Movement who piloted the policy within the organisation have called for the Sexual Harassment Bill to be re-tabled in Parliament.
They also called for the recommencement of the Joint Select Committee to complete the review of the Sexual Offences Act, the Child Care and Protection Act, the Domestic Violence Act and Offences against the Persons Act.
Speaking at a press conference this morning to mark International Women's Day, Phillips said the party is deliberate about making politics a more open and welcoming space for women to thrive and to participate in leadership.
“The PNP is proud of its history to be the first to open up opportunities to women in political life. You will note that of the 11 candidates recently announced, eight of them are women. We see women as critical to the party's survival and renewal, and as sexual harassment disproportionality affects women, we want all who are survivors of sexual harassment, to be heard, to be taken seriously and to know that there is protection in the law,” Dr Phillips said.
The party said its policy defines sexual harassment as “one or a series of incidents involving unsolicited, unwelcome or unwanted advances, any request for sexual favours or any verbal, written, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature, whether directly or indirectly by implication. All of these can make a person feel humiliated and/or intimidated.
President of the PNP Women's Movement, Jennifer Edwards, cited the need to move quickly while there is a rising tide of support globally.
“The commemoration of International Women's Day this year comes amidst an unprecedented level of advocacy for women's rights globally. Look at how hashtag #Metoo and #TimesUp led by the women in Hollywood have resonated across the world? This raises awareness which is critical to ending decades of sexual harassment, pay disparity and discrimination, but even more critical is the instituting of policies and laws to protect victims and survivors. Today, we say to the perpetrators of sexual harassment and misconduct in Jamaica, 'Times up'! We will Press for Progress,” Edwards affirmed.