The Mothers' Union do a job which is often undervalued and underpublicized. When I worked in an area of great poverty, it was the Mothers' Union that sent whole families on seaside holidays, organized respite for carers, and ran 'mother's help' services for mums who just needed that bit of assistance after a new baby was born or when a child or parent was in hospital. In the parish at Nuthall where I was priest, Lady Day was always a big celebration and it was moving to see the support and friendship groups of women had given to each other over many, many years.
But, did you know that the Mothers Union has special consultative status at the United Nations? They attend and contribute to the yearly worldwide gathering of the Commission for the Status of Women (founded in 1946) and there are members present from many of the 192 states across the world? Topics debated and therefore brought to the attention of politicians and governments since 2000 include the elimination of violence and discrimination against girls (eg. the 'leaving to die' of female babies), the role of gender equality in making poverty history (the advancement of women in health care and education meaning that poverty will be more effectively tackled in families), women's particiaption in peace and international security initiatives and politics, the prevention of violence against women and the eradication of poverty and HIV.
The Mothers' Union are well placed, globally, to campaign for the UN Millenium Goals and to report on the causes of some of the problems these goals seek to address
- the elimination of extreme poverty
- universal primary education
- reduction in child mortality
- improvment in maternal health
- combating HIV and other preventable diseases
- ensuring enviromental stability
- developing global partnerships.
Find out more on http://www.themothersunion.org/
or go to the Ripon and Leeds MU branch newly launched site at www.muriponleeds.org/default.aspx