[Mothers’ Union] Mothers’ Union has warned against a ‘weakening resolve’ in the fight for women’s empowerment and called upon the UK to do more to promote gender equality, and end discrimination against women in the workplace. Following the 61st United Nations Commission on the Status of Women [UNCSW], which focused on ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work’, Mothers’ Union spoke out about its concern over the scaling down of rhetoric and faltering language recorded in the Agreed Conclusions from the Commission.
Rose Wright, Campaigns and Social Policy Manager at Mothers’ Union, an organisation which represents four million members in 83 countries worldwide, said; “While we welcome the call for governments to strengthen and enforce laws outlawing violence against women within the world of work, we are concerned that the global resolve around this critical issue is weakening, putting at risk the progress that has been made in recent years in the battle to eliminate violence against women and girls, a key pathway to women’s economic empowerment.”
Overall, Mothers’ Union gave a qualified welcome to the Agreed Conclusions, which urge governments at all levels, and invites civil society, the private sector and others, to address women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. However, Mothers’ Union called upon the Government to take necessary action to ensure that the social norms and stereotypes that underpin much of gender inequality are reviewed, particularly those relating to unpaid work and care, job segregation, and practices which perpetuate violence against women and girls, such as those exacerbated by the media, and advertising industry.
Mothers’ Union echoed UNCSW’s challenge to governments to recognise violence against women and girls [VAWG], as a barrier to the economic empowerment of women, and take measures to eradicate structural barriers such as unfair charges in the child maintenance system, access to legal aid, and support within the workplace. Mothers’ Union also called for increased recognition of unpaid care and work, and an appreciation of the societal and economic benefits this brings.
Mothers’ Union is also keen to challenge the issue of gender inequality and harmful gender norms, through the education system, by developing comprehensive and age appropriate programmes that promote healthy relationships and sex education. Finally, the Agreed Conclusions also drew attention to access to education, female illiteracy and the treatment of migrants, as key issues to address.
Mothers’ Union has consultative status with the economic and social council of the United Nations, and attends UNCSW annually. Mothers’ Union delegation liaised, and consulted daily with representatives from the UK Government during negotiations, and its members spoke about the work of Mothers’ Union at various side events.