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La délégation Europe du MMM International participe aux débats et aux projets des institutions européennes dans les domaines qui concernent les mères, les enfants, les familles. Il vous tient au courant des dossiers en cours et prend position. Il est le relai des associations membres et partenaires et fait entendre la voix des mères auprès des instances de l'Union Européenne.

Prises de positions de la Délegation Europe au nom du MMM

2011/04 - La démographie en Europe

Mouvement Mondial des Mères (MMM)
Make Mothers Matters Policy Position on Demography – February 2011 (Téléchargeable ici)

Mouvement Mondial des Mères (MMM), founded in Paris in 1947, is an international, apolitical and non-denominational NGO. It represents mothers and their families to national and international institutions, and has general consultative status at the United Nations. It also raises awareness of policy makers and public opinion on the vital role of mothers for promoting peace and contributing to social and economic progress. Its European delegation (MMM Europe) works to voice the priorities and concerns of mothers in Europe to institutions and policymakers of the European Union and raises awareness of mothers’ impact on the educational, cultural, and economic development of their countries.

The concern for the declining European birth rate has increased in importance since the Demographic Report of 2006 raised alarm over a growing population imbalance:  increasing longevity of the "baby boomers" raises the number of elderly and their need for pensions and health and care services at the same time that fewer people are entering the labour force to pay taxes which support the social benefits.  Short-term and long-term measures have been implemented to work with this population imbalance, but short-term measures must not impair the willingness of mothers to bear children.  No measure can be effective without the cooperation of mothers and families.

Increasing the rate of female employment has been mandated by treaty and also coincides with the desire of many women for a career and participation in the paid labour market.   What effect will the short-term measure of full-time employment of women have on the long-term necessity of maintaining or increasing the birth-rate?  Ensuring the birth rate is an essential measure, not only for maintaining the population and providing the future labour force, but also because the long-term economic vitality of a society is based on a steady supply of youth.

What is the perspective of mothers in Europe?  The European delegation of the Mouvement Mondial des Mères – Make Mothers Matter has written a report, "Realities of Mothers in Europe", whose findings are based on expert interviews, focus groups, an online consultation with 11,000 mothers, and a critical review of EU, OECD, and scientific literature.   Mothers expressed the following:

  • a large majority of mothers desire to participate in the paid labor force and to rear their own children
  • mothers see their lives as a series of "seasons," one of which they devote primarily to the bearing and upbringing of their children into adulthood
  • during this "family season" mothers desire to be at home when their children are not in school, and they overwhelmingly prefer part-time work and flexible schedules. The full time employment of the father helps enable this.
  • full-time maternal employment during this season of family care frequently engenders high levels of stress, leading to lower life satisfaction, fragility in family life, and  "burn-out" which may lead to early retirement.
  • during other seasons of their life mothers give priority to full-time employment and volunteer service. 

Caring for children, ill or elderly family members results in a reduction in salary and contributions to pension funds, thus exposing mothers to risk of poverty in retirement.   The spectre of poverty in retirement should not be used as a coercive measure for mothers to enter the labor force, either for meeting quotas or for "social engineering."  Marshalling governmental power to coerce mothers to follow a single model may result in the unintended consequence of an increased emphasis on material gain and status and a devaluation of motherhood and family care to the point of abandoning the notion of caring.  "A government cannot convince people to have children;  all it can do is help people to have the children they already want." ( See  www.weeklystandard.com/articles/america%E2%80%99s-one-child-policy.)

In the context of democracy, it would be preferable to recognize the timing and diversity of preferences, needs, physical capacity and religious beliefs and to respect and support the right of a mother to choose her life pattern to respond to these conditions.

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MMM Europe is the Brussels-based European affiliate of the Mouvement Mondial des Mères, an NGO composed of volunteer mothers whose international center is in Paris and has consultative status at the UN.  (See www.mmmeurope.org)

To access the report Realities of Mothers in Europe :

(www.familyplatform.eu/en/doc/249/WP2_MMM_Realities_of_Mothers_in_Europe.pdf.)

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