Because mothers count


UN New York, CSocD61 - Those are the concluding words of our representative at the UN in New York to the the UN Commission on Social Development. She called on the Commission to reaffirm the importance of addressing the issue of the inequitable distribution of unpaid family care work, which is a major barrier to mothers accessing decent work.

The following is an extract from this intervention. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has shed light on the issue of the inequitable distribution of unpaid care work and how it can be a major barrier to accessing decent work for women, especially when they are mothers.

It has also shown how essential and foundational this work is for the wellbeing of all, and for the functioning and future of our society and our economy. When estimating its financial value, unpaid care work represents between 10 and 30% of GDP. In some countries, more than half of the total work hours are unpaid.

Realizing Target 5.4 of the development agenda is an essential first step that must be re-prioritized. But this is not enough.

We at MMM are calling on the Commission to reaffirm the importance of addressing this issue to progress on women’s access to and participation in the labour market, and to promote the appropriate measures – using the 3R framework.

  1. Making unpaid care work visible using Time-Use Surveys is a necessary step to which member States have committed with target 5.4. And yet, as of 2018, only 72 States have conducted such surveys. In addition, unpaid care work must also be recognized as ‘work’, valuable and skillful work, which sustains our economy. It is an investment in human capital that deserves full support. Disconnecting basic social protection, including healthcare, from formal employment and making it universal is one concrete way to recognize the value of unpaid care work.
  2. Unpaid care work often compensates for the lack of basic public infrastructure, including water and sanitation, electricity, energy, ICT, and transportation, and the lack of essential public services like healthcare and care services. Accessible public infrastructure and services must be a top priority for governments, who must also ensure women’s participation in their development, so that they best serve their needs and reduce unpaid work.
  3. To close the care gap, unpaid care work must be framed as a collective responsibility, with everybody taking their share, including government and the private sector. This means initiating policies to promote a more equitable sharing between men and women, but also policies from both governments and the private sector to support unpaid caregivers.

The time has come to take a more holistic view of ‘decent work’, where both paid and unpaid care work are considered and their interrelation and interdependence recognized. The right to work and its relation to Care as a right – right to care, right to be cared for, and right to selfcare – needs to be reassessed and work policies rethought.

Because mothers count.

Full statement for download

Jacqueline Leduc, our representative to the UN in New York, delivered this oral statement during the 61st UN Commission on Social Development (CSocD61), which took place 6-15 February 2023, with its main theme: ‘Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.

See also:


Most read articles

Women at the peace table: international Conference


Make Mothers Matter, together with the city of Ypres, and its grass roots partners Mothers for Peace, Mama Kivu and the Vrouwenraad, is organizing an international peace Conference Women at

Lire plus

MMM welcomes first ever Human Rights Council resolution on Care


UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - Entitled ‘Centrality of care and support from a human rights perspective’, this landmark resolution was presented by the governments of Argentina, Iceland, Mexico

Lire plus

A snapshot of our Women at the Peace Table Conference


It was by all accounts, a remarkable gathering of global peacemakers. They came from all over the world to lend their voice and support to the message of the Conference:

Lire plus
See all the articlesof the category

Latest News from MMM and its Network

Supporting mothers as caregivers and educators – MMM @ the Human Rights Council


UN Geneva - As the 55th session of the Human Rights council wraps up, here is an overview of our contributions to the discussions that took place on a wide range of topics. Our aim with all our interventions wa

Read more

Mothers run the most demanding start-up: the family


UN New York, CSW68 - These wise words, uttered by of one of the speakers at our event, Let's change the narrative: invest in mothers, sums up the challenges faced by mothers. Organised online on the margins of

Read more

Let’s change the narrative: Invest in Mothers


UN New York, CSW68 - Join us for a discussion on changing the narrative in support of mothers - an online parallel event to the 68th UN Commission on the Status of Women

Read more

Be Family® – committing companies to act in support of families in the workplace


MMM as founding member, is pleased to announce the launch of Be Family®, a bold and new movement that aims to ensure companies and organisations act inclusively and responsibly towards families and people with

Read more

Inclusive social protection for realising children’s rights


UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - - Co-organised with a group of Child Rights organisations, we invite you to join us for this hybrid event which will take place around the HRC's annual day of the rights of the

Read more

Stop using women and girls as weapons of war says MMM member


UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - Passy Mubalama, Activist and Executive Director of Aidprofen, our associate member in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was one of the 4 Civil Society speakers selected to addr

Read more