On the inaugural International Day of Care and Support, Monash University is issuing a joint statement with other universities and senior members of government agencies and international organisations, including the UN, to highlight barriers in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of peacebuilding practitioners with caring responsibilities.
Initial research undertaken by Monash University and the University of Warwick
suggests that most people in the sector believe their caring responsibilities – principally having children – impacts their work, hinders career progression, or forces them to leave or change their career.
Dr Eleanor Gordon, from Monash University’s Gender, Peace and Security Centre said this is not due to personal choice, but to a wide range of organisational, normative, work culture, and practical challenges – many of which can be addressed without significant investment of time or money.
“Unpaid care remains invisible, undervalued and neglected in economic, social and foreign policymaking. The overlooked, undervalued and highly gendered nature of unpaid care work is also a key factor in women’s persistent underrepresentation in peacebuilding,” Dr Gordon said.
The joint statement draws attention to this impact on the representation of women in peacebuilding, and the subsequent negative impacts on peacebuilding outcomes.
The joint statement also invites peacebuilding practitioners globally to share their views on peacebuilding and care work in a survey, in order to gather data on an overlooked topic and to inform policy and practice.
Survey results will inform a report aimed at raising awareness, provoking further discussion, and effecting change in the sector to better support people with caring responsibilities in peacebuilding and, in turn, increase the success of peacebuilding.
The statement and survey was jointly developed by Monash University, University of Warwick, RMIT and the University of Sydney with senior members of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and international organisations engaged in peacebuilding, including UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), Swisspeace, Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF), Saferworld, International Peace Institute (IPI), UN Department of
Peace Operations (UNDPO), UN Women, African Union Commission (AUC), Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).
The UN General Assembly has invited all stakeholders globally to observe the International Day of Care and Support to raise awareness of care and support as a key contributor to the sustainability of societies and economies, as well as of the need to invest in a resilient and inclusive care economy.
Monash University and its partner organisations involved in this work hope their contribution can help fulfil these ambitions and contribute to more inclusive, responsive and effective peacebuilding – at a time when it is most needed.
The full statement, including the survey link, is available here.
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