UN New York, CSW - MMM's written statement ahead of the 65th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women points to the inequitable distribution of unpaid family care work as the main systemic barrier. It also provides recommendations to address this issue.
There are many examples of women as mothers, raising their voices for justice and change ranging from the Argentinian mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, to the current mobilisation of mothers of children with disabilities against corruption in Bulgaria. In addition, the current Covid-19 crisis epitomizes women and mothers’ abilities, resilience, and their central role as essential workers and stakeholders in the home, in the labour market, and in social and public life at all levels.
The pandemic challenges the stark choices societies will have to make to build back better or to build forward better and how this can be achieved. In this particular context, women and mothers’ activism and advocacy, their fight for their rights, for education, social sustainability, climate justice, and peace, for better economic opportunities and empowerment is indeed a daunting challenge and calls for a systemic change.
MMM firmly believes that this crisis represents an opportunity to bring about this change, especially with regards to the purpose and functioning of our economies. The crisis clearly shows the limits of our current economic system, which is based on endless GDP growth and prioritizes profits over life. It completely ignores the essential value of unpaid care work as well as that of our natural environment, both of which subsidize the monetized economy as they are currently considered endless and free resources – a fact that feminist economists have long highlighted. Indeed, the 2020 Oxfam report “It is time to care” asserts that the monetary value of unpaid care work globally for women aged 15 and over is at least $10.8 trillion annually –three times the size of the world’s tech industry. Another staggering figure that asks for action.
Therefore, we at MMM call on governments and other stakeholders to:
Care and education are two major leverages for a more inclusive, gender balanced, peaceful and sustainable society. The empowerment of women and their full participation in all sectors, since they represent half of humanity, are crucial to the implementation of the SDGs.
Moreover, the severity of the ongoing health crisis calls for a paradigm shift in the way we run our economies and what we prioritize through our economic system. It has never worked well for women, who keep things running whilst being underrepresented in decision-making. With Care and Education as major tools, it is time that we move beyond GDP growth and profit making as the main drivers of our economies. Instead, the wellbeing of both people and the planet must be the core objectives of our economies, and new indicators must be used that integrate and support these wellbeing objectives to guide government budgeting and policymaking – with women adequately represented in decision making.
The 65th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65) will take place virtually from 15 to 25 March 2021, with as a priority theme: Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
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