UN New York - Report on the side-event that MMM organized on the margins of the 58th session of the Commission on Social Development on 18 February 2020 at the UN headquarters in New York.
The objectives of our side-event were 3 fold:
The event was co-sponsored by our partner, the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC), as well as the International Movement ATD Fourth World and Soroptimist International. Organized as a panel, it was moderated by Abbey SUSSELL MPH, BJ, BA – Public Charge Fellow at the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC).
It was broadcast Live on Facebook (watch the recording) – #NoHomelessMothers
Jacqueline LEDUC, Representative at the UN in New York for Make Mothers Matter, outlined the various possible causes of single motherhood, highlighting that in the vast majority of cases, it was not a choice. She presented statistics on the interconnectedness of single motherhood and homelessness and introduced the socio-economic consequences for mothers and children – See also her PowerPoint presentation
MMM recommendations relate to prevention, specifically addressing the economic and social root causes of single mothers’ vulnerability to poverty. No single mother should be left behind.
Zena Grimes stressed the importance of education. She also suggests promoting activities that boost self-confidence.
John Greenwood recommends increasing support to homeless children in the scholar system, including early education programs, which would also be helpful to their mothers. He also took a question from International Movement ATD Fourth World about the possibility of integrating maternal and perinatal services in the shelter system (not currently available).
Dr. Elizabeth Werner recommends making mental health care more accessible, especially during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Mental health care can break the cycle of intergenerational transmission of poverty, stress, depression, and homelessness.
Dr. Angelica Ponguta recommends the empowerment of local government, as the most important factor in recognizing, preventing and solving family- and child-centered challenges, including single mother homelessness.
Vanesa Treers underlined the need to forward recommendations from the CSocD58 to states and stakeholders.
In conclusion, unpaid family care work should be at the core of policies addressing women’s poverty, with the explicit objective of recognizing, supporting and redistributing the essential work of caring for others. Parents, especially single mothers, must be supported in their work and their responsibility of raising and educating the next generation of citizens and workers. Social protection must be extended to include housing, which is an essential building block for education, health, and access to the labour market. Supporting families must be seen as an investment.
Thanks to video messages, this event brought the voices of 2 of our grassroots members to the United Nations in New York: Aide à la Jeunesse Africaine Défavorisé (AJAD) from Côte d’Ivoire and La Maison de Tom Pouce from France.
We would like to warmly thank all our speakers and participating organisations, including
See also the exhaustive event report on the ECPC website,
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