Turnquest: men and women should be paid equally for their contributions
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest said notwithstanding the calls for gender equality in the workplace, it would be difficult to demand of the private sector to conform to equal wages.
“The government is of the view that there ought not to be discrimination, but again there is no policy is place,” he said.
“I am not sure how you would mandate that.
“From my experience, it would be difficult to practically say to an employer you must pay this for a position. What the law does say is there cannot be any discrimination in employment in using sex or race or religion or anything else as a basis for underpaying someone. I think enforcement of the law and monitoring is probably appropriate.”
Turnquest’s comments follow Director of Labour John Pinder, who said last week that the department of was working toward eradicating gender-based discrimination in the workplace.
“In terms of fixing what the rate will be, it will be very difficult from a practical standpoint because we can’t get involved in a private relationship [between] employer and employee,” he said.
“It is no doubt that there are some biases within in the system.
“We know that women have historically been underpaid for the work that they do in comparison to their male counterparts.
“I think that is something that we all have to work much more diligently about and highlight the issues so that the employers begin to appreciate that the contributions that women make should be treated the same.”
Recent data released by the Department of Statistics underscored that despite attaining higher education, unemployment among women was higher.
The data showed that 67.2 per cent of unemployed women in the nation had completed secondary school, compared to the 62.5 per cent of unemployed men.
Similarly, 11.2 per cent of unemployed women completed university, compared to the 5.2 per cent of unemployed men.
Women between the ages of 15 and 54 were also were also more than likely to be unemployed than men.
As it relates to the public sector, Turnquest noted that laws already exist that guard against discrimination.
However, he acknowledged that more work is need to ensure enforcement.