Press Release

Women in the Changing World: Let’s Start from Education

08 March 2018

  • Instead of a day that marks a celebration of women’s gaining rights, rights to vote, in health care and education or in the workplace, it has become a celebration of motherhood.  
Caption: Children in kindergarten in Montenegro
Photo: © UNICEF / Duško Miljanić

Today, on the International Women’s Day, the UN System in Montenegro calls for the “gender mind-shift”.  

Over the years, how we commemorate International Women’s Day seems to have lost its way. Instead of a day that marks a celebration of women’s gaining rights, rights to vote, in health care and education or in the workplace, it has become a celebration of motherhood.  A day when the caring role of women, particularly as mothers, grandmothers and wives is acknowledged with poems, and pictures, roses and perfume.

Of course, respect and appreciation for parents is an important thing, but in only celebrating ‘mothers’, don’t we undervalue the role of men? Men are often only seen as ‘breadwinners’, their important parenting role gets neglected. Gender equality means an equal role for both parents in raising children, shared parental leave, divided responsibilities for the work and caring in bringing up children.

A paradox that young women are better educated than young men, while men still being better paid for the same job than women, is an indicator that something needs to be changed.”

Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro

Work for men and women in Montenegro is very different” said UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro Fiona McCluney, quoting a UNDP’s survey from 2012 that, considering their caring roles, women on average work 3.5 hours longer than men every day in the family. “A paradox that young women are better educated than young men[1], while men still being better paid for the same job than women, is yet another argument that something needs to be changed.”

Education is an excellent place to start to make change. Introduction at an early age, of a gender-sensitive curriculum and teaching about gender roles, within-family and partner relations, recognising and responding to violence, promoting girls participation in sports and girls participation in areas which are predominantly occupied by boys, and often get linked to better paid jobs, such as engineering, IT, etc.

Ideally, the education system should not perpetuate gender stereotypes, the unwritten conventions that may keep the girls from achieving their full potential, but focus from preschool onwards, on giving girls and boys equal opportunities to develop,” said Ms. McCluney.

On the International Women's Day, the UN System in Montenegro appeals for more investment in empowering women throughout the education system, so their full potentials could be realized, but also for the true meaning of the 8th March and women`s rights movement to be passed on to the children in the earliest stages of development. In doing so, Montenegro will also contribute to achieving the SDGs (in particular, goal number 5) and accelerating the EU accession.

Women in the Changing World: Let’s Start from Education

RC Office Communication Officer

Vlatko Otasevic

RCO
Communications Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

ILO
International Labour Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
UN
United Nations
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
UNIDO
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNOPS
United Nations Office for Project Services
WHO
World Health Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative