UN Women has released their report, “Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020: Families in a Changing World

This report is crucial because it directs us towards the realities of families: families are diverse, and only about 25% are in the stereotypical configuration of mother, father and children. The majority of families are different, whether extended multi-generational families, single parent families, adults without children, gay parents with children, or single adults. In discourse at the UN, we call for language such as “families in all their diversities” to ensure that language of supporting ‘families’ is not used in a regressive move to keep women and children subjected to patriarchal norms.

Families around the world look, feel, and live differently today. Families can be “make or break” for women and girls when it comes to achieving their rights. They can be places of love, care, and fulfillment but, too often, they are also spaces where women’s and girls’ rights are violated, their voices are stifled, and where gender inequality prevails. In today’s changing world, laws and policies need to be based on the reality of how families live.

UN Women’s flagship report, “Progress of the world’s women 2019–2020: Families in a changing world”, assesses the reality of families today in the context of sweeping economic, demographic, political, and social transformation. The report features global, regional, and national data. It also analyses key issues such as family laws, employment, unpaid care work, violence against women, and families and migration.

At a critical juncture for women’s rights, this landmark report proposes a comprehensive family-friendly policy agenda to advance gender equality in diverse families. A package of policies to deliver this agenda is affordable for most countries, according to a costing analysis included in the report. When families are places of equality and justice, economies and societies thrive and unlock the full potential of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report shows that achieving the SDGs depends on promoting gender equality within families.

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