Make Mothers Matter (MMM, previously Mouvement Mondial des Mères/World Movement of Mothers) was born from the actions of the Union Féminine Civique et Sociale (UFCS) whose main goal was to improve the conditions of women at work during the inter-war period.
Back then, social support to families was inexistent, which made it very difficult to have a work-family balance and weakened poor families even more. Convinced by the essential role of mothers within a family and by the value of their (unpaid) family work, the UFCS encouraged the granting of family subsidies and cash transfer for stay-at-home mothers in France.
The start of World War II contributed to making women’s role evolve in society as they overtook many responsibilities from the men who left to the battlefront. As of 1946, the UFCS organized a congress on « The Action of Women in a world that needs to be re-designed », thus inviting women to actively participate in the reconstruction of a society that was destroyed, beginning with their own families.
The following year, the UFCS mobilized mothers for the reconstruction of a more peaceful society. Mothers are indeed pillars with regard to education and they have an essential role in the transmission of peace and cultural values within a family. Mothers thus have specific competencies, which are useful for the society and for public life.
In 1947 during the UNESCO international congress “Mothers Work for Human Progress” the Mouvement Mondial des Mères/Wolrd Mouvement of Mothers (MMM) was established. The mothers who participated in this congress came from 29 different countries and unanimously endorsed the Mother’s Charter, which was the founding document for their action.
In the archives, there is a significant number of documents showing MMM’s vision as well as the energy that MMM put into dealing with social issues and social challenges since it was created, always focusing on the role that can be attributed to mothers. MMM tirelessly tried to raise awareness about the impact of mothers’ actions beyond their family circle. Mothers should, therefore, be acknowledged, protected and supported due to the social, economic and cultural dimension of their role.
Over the years, MMM has developed and maintained a network of members and correspondents, organized international congresses, issued publications and conducted surveys in order to bring into light the specific actions of mothers for social, economic and cultural development. A regular presence at international institutions also allowed MMM to spread its message.
From the 1960s onwards, feminists who courageously stood up for women’s rights tended to consider maternity as an obstacle to access the condition they were fighting for, to their own achievement, as well as to gender equality. A couple of years later, family as such was questioned in all its aspects.
MMM continued to defend the value of the unpaid care work of mothers and its importance for the family and social balance. Not willing to enter polarized debates, MMM stayed focused on its mission and continued gathering several associations and mothers united around a common mission.
Despite the variety of their situations, living conditions, and cultural contexts, mothers have a lot in common.
This is the strength of MMM.
From the years 2000 onwards, MMM decided to broaden its message and make it universal within the framework of the UNESCO Decade for a Culture of Peace. MMM showed how mothers can contribute to peace.
With the Millennium Development Goals, issues related to maternal health were now being part of the international agenda. MMM highlighted the essential role of mothers with regard to the health of their family and their communities.
In parallel, the role of the family once again became a major issue due to demographic, economic and social changes. Work-life balance, the role of the mothers and families regarding unpaid family care work, in particular in developing countries where such work goes usually hand in hand with grinding poverty, are examples of challenges which are at the center of MMM’s mission.
In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provides for a new work framework.
As nicely stated by a Chinese saying, „women are half the sky“; if we estimate that 80% of them are mothers, it can be considered that all the issues raised by the SDGs and discussed at the United Nations, at UNESCO, as well as at the European Union Institutions somehow relate to mothers!
Because MMM cannot participate in all these discussions, it chose to focus on three main areas, which are particularly relevant for mothers: mothers and economy, mothers and health and mothers and peace.
1947: Creation of the Mouvement Mondial des Mères/World Movement of Mothers (MMM) at UNESCO in Paris. The “Mother’s Charter” is adopted.
1949: MMM is among the first NGOs to be granted Consultative Status with the United Nations – Thus allowing mothers’ voice to be heard at the international level.
1994: MMM receives the « International Year of the Family » award – as 1994 is declared the International Year of the Family by the UN.
1999: MMM’s 50th anniversary is celebrated at UNESCO with an international conference on “The family and the social dynamics of mother’s work”.
2003: Organization of a conference in Lebanon on the “Role of mothers in building peace.”
2004: Organization of two seminars with the NATO in Moldavia and in Slovakia.
2004: MMM is granted General Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
2007: MMM’s 60th anniversary is celebrated with an international congress at the UNESCO in Paris “1000 mothers for peace”.
2008: Oxford Study conference: “A secure society for the 21st century– Why mothers matter”
2014: The Mouvement Mondial des Mères/World Movement of Mothers officially becomes Make Mothers Matter, a name which clearly incorporates its mission.
2016: Organisation of an international conference “Mothers and Health” in Brussels.
2018: Organisation of an international conference “#Mothers4Peace” in Casablanca, Morroco
The 1947 Mother’s Charter, was a pioneering document for its time. It has guided our work for many years.
A mother’s influence goes far beyond the home – It impacts through her role in the family and community and her contribution to the economic and social development of her country.
The organisation of family and social life has to take into account the fundamental equality between a man and a woman while recognising their complementary nature. A woman must be free to choose her state of life and allowed fulfillment in all her activities in the home and outside.
Public organisations should acknowledge the importance of the education given by the family through financial support and appropriate legislation.
The role of a mother within the family is as irreplaceable as that of the family in society.
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October 2020 saw the results of the first Irish Maternity Experience Survey, providing an important insight into women’s experiences at all stages of maternity care in Ireland - antenatal, care during labour