UNESCO, General Conference - Taking the floor as part of the General Policy debate, MMM denounced the impacts of gendered stereotypes and gender roles on girls' access to education. As care needs are expected to rise significantly, we also called for changing mentalities to prevent young girls' futures from being decided as early as age 5, and promote a more equitable sharing of unpaid domestic and care work between boys and girls during childhood - a necessary step to progress on gender equality.
The following is our full statement, delivered by MMM representative Ilhame Boirie-Joubert.
I would like to begin by reading a few revealing testimonies:
These powerful yet troubling statements come from young girls, deprived of an empowering education, because they’re girls and kept busy at home.
This reality is shared by huge numbers of young girls around the world.
Talking about educating and empowering young girls without taking into account the considerable weight they carry in domestic work is absolute nonsense.
The Nobel Prize-winning Harvard economist Claudia Goldin has demonstrated that differences in pay and labor force participation cannot be attributed to biological differences, but to the division of unpaid caregiving and household labor between heterosexual couples.
Available figures prove it, categorically. The international community recognizes the importance of this systemic problem.
We believe a similar parallel can be drawn with obstacles many girls face in accessing an education.
It is therefore imperative that we – States, civil society, NGOs – take more direct action and intervene much earlier to prevent young girls’ futures from being decided as early as age 5. Reflexes and beliefs are imprinted from earliest childhood.
At MMM, many grass roots associations in our member network work to change mentalities, for instance:
Such initiatives must be collectively supported, amplified, and replicated.
We need to mobilize our forces. Act now. And act together.
The 42nd General Conference took place from 7 to 22 November 2023 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
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