UN Geneva / International Labour Conference - MMM oral intervention commends the International Labour's Organisation's Women at Work Initiative and its new "push for equality". It also reaffirms the urgent need to address the issue of unpaid family care work, and provides policy recommendations cutting across multiple sectors.
The objective of the statement that MMM delivered on the 4th June in plenary sitting was to participate in the discussion around the report, The Women at Work initiative: The push for equality, that the ILO Director-General presented at the International Labour Conference
MMM welcomes the clear acknowledgment in the report of the “time-money-agency conundrum” – which most women face, as a key issue that must be addressed as the main structural obstacle to further progress on gender equality.
Central to this conundrum is the issue of unpaid family care work – that is the inequitable distribution between men and women of the unpaid domestic and care work performed in the home. This work is not only essential to reproducing and sustaining families: in fact, it supports the economy and society as a whole. Globally women still do 2 ½ times more unpaid care and domestic work than men. And when paid and unpaid work is combined, on average women work longer hours than men – especially when they are mothers.
Yet, instead of being recognized and valued for combining these care and professional responsibilities, women continue to be penalized. Mothers especially encounter systematic discriminations and obstacles in hiring and promotion, and suffer wage discrimination linked to motherhood (the “motherhood penalty”).
Addressing these issues goes well beyond the labour sector alone and requires a multi-sectoral approach, also involving education, health, social welfare and fiscal sectors. It requires a paradigm shift: (1) putting care, education, and the well-being of people at the centre of government priorities and policies; and (2) taking a long-term perspective and investing for the future.
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