Thursday, 26 January 2012

Why a mother is following Davos

What do you think your child’s life will look life in 10 years? My daughter is 12 years old now and in 2022, at the age of 22, she would have taken her place in the world as an adult. My hope is that she will be living in a world in which opportunities for people will be distributed fairly and evenly; and one in which she will be treated equally as a woman in every sphere of her life.


This is my dream for her but dreams can be shattered by many variables one of which is an economic environment that gives rise to levels of inequality that act as barriers to people being able to participate in society according to their ability.

I deplore the patriarchal notion of motherhood which places a mother’s worry firmly in the private sphere of the domestic domain. The difficulties that our children face requires a solution that comes out of a coalition building consensus which reflects the fact that some of the drivers of global inequality were caused by global actions or inactions.

Feminist mothering is about reshaping societies so that mothers are recognised as both contributors to and recipients of global justice. Starvation, famine and climate change are mother issues. Being a mother is always talked about in the narrow terms of ‘choice’ i.e a mother either stays at home or goes out to work. The concept of political fairness is, very wrongly, rarely associated with mothering.

The Insight Report: Global Risks 2012 identifies five categories: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological. All these affect mothers. The economic situation is what I refer to above. Environmental disasters led to famine situations, a scarcity of resources and the destruction of eco systems. All of these affect a mother’s ability to feed her children at a micro level.

Geopolitical risks go to the root of the stability of our world. Pervasive entrenched corruption, as an example, deprives mothers living in villages in third world countries of access to funds to set up small businesses which will bring in an income. Societal concerns give rise to issues about maternal and child health issues. Lastly, technological disasters at a macro level because of the strong links with the other four factors.

Leaders at Davos may not in any sense have factored mothers into their stakeholder engagement plans but there is much reason to do so. Remodelling the world economic system is THE plan for 2012 so a genuinely innovative inclusive consideration of the gender dividend which includes mothers is called for. The gender dividend is also about mothers who do not have the opportunity to sit in a boardroom.
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