It’s almost that time of year again: time to celebrate and thank the hard-working women who raised us and shaped us into the (obviously) wonderful people that we are today (thanks Mom).
This year, we wanted to do something different. We wanted to share the love and shed some light on the strengths and struggles of mothers around the world. Although women are accomplishing great things for themselves, their families, and their communities, it is clear that we all still have a long way to go. So we at The MATCH Fund developed this manifesto to help us better support mothers around the world this Mother’s Day and every day.
LIGHTEN THE LOAD
Around the world, women spend twice the amount of time as men on housework1. Although more mothers are now working outside the home, they continue to face the daily double burden of paid work and domestic work. Changing this reality needs to start at home.
BAN THE TERM ‘WORKING MOTHER’
Break out the swear jar – the term ‘working mother’ can offend everyone. This label does little to acknowledge all the hard work being done by women in the home. It also suggests that mothers who are not at home are different and require special identification. And without the corresponding ‘working father’, many men who work both at home and in the paid economy are not recognized. We need to get this word out of our vocabulary altogether.
Nearly 80% of the garment workers employed in Bangladesh are women (however, the majority of supervisors are male). Half of these employees are married and many are mothers. Mothers are working in unsafe conditions for long hours, often facing sexual harassment, and often without maternity leave. Yet the garment industry boom in Bangladesh has provided many opportunities for local women, such as increased incomes and a louder political voice2. You can help to create a safer and more equitable working environment by committing to doing your research when you shop. Use your purchasing power to support brands that are striving to make a positive difference in the lives of garment workers around the world.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, roughly 45% more men than women have access to the internet. Women around the world are missing out on the opportunities presented by the internet to build networks and collaborate. With greater internet access, mothers can be empowered to make better-informed decisions for themselves and their families on issues such as violence, education and health3. Help ensure equal access by supporting local efforts to connect women to the world wide web, like Azur Development’s work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where ICT education is used to enable women to document instances of gender based violence and pressure their government to take action.
More women in power means more power for women. When women are in office, more money and efforts go towards resolving issues that deeply affect women and families, such as ending violence against women and universal childcare4. Do your part to push the women’s rights agenda by getting involved in local politics, supporting female political leaders, and using your vote to ensure more women get into politics.
START LOCAL, GO GLOBAL
We know from experience that grassroots feminist movements are the most effective in creating sustained positive change for gender equality (and research shows this too). When mothers get involved with their community at a local level, big things can happen. Local and community based action is happening every day, all over the world. Today more than ever, local movements are building into global ones, changing the lives of women and girls, not to mention mothers. Start within your own community and, together, let’s make a better world for women.
This Mother’s Day, we encourage you to adopt our manifesto as your own (we’re happy to share). Spread the word, share the facts, and raise awareness about the realities faced by many mothers around the world today. Your actions may seem small, but together we can have global impact and create a positive change for all women.
Download and print a PDF version of the manifesto here and be sure to share it with your friends!
If you’re looking to do more (or if you’re still looking for that perfect Mother’s Day gift), consider making a donation to The MATCH International Women’s Fund in honour of your mother (or your grandmother, your sister, your daughter, or your best friend). The MATCH International Women’s Fund connects you to women who are working at the grassroots level to create a more equal reality for themselves and their families. Help empower women around the world by making a donation in honour of your mother or another special woman today.
1United Nations, “The World’s Women 2010: Trends and Statistics,”http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/Worldswomen/Executive%20summary.htm
2 Nidhi Khosla, “The Ready Made Garments Industry in Bangaldesh: A Means to Reducing Gender-Based Social Exclusion of Women?” Journal of International Women’s Studies, http://vc.bridgew.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1161&context=jiws
3Intel, “Women and the Web: Bridging the Internet gap and creating new global opportunities in low and middle-income countries,”
4The White House Project, “The White House Project: Benchmarking Women’s Leadership,” http://www.in.gov/icw/files/benchmark_wom_leadership.pdf