The Need for a Higher Standard of Maternity Protection

Brussels, Belgium, 7-8 April 2000


Socialist International Women considers that maternity protection benefits not only women, but all members of the community. It is a social value whose promotion relies on one fundamental legal instrument: the Maternity Protection Convention.

At the 88th session of the International Labour Conference, to be held in June 2000, the International Labour Office will adopt a new Convention. In the course of the review process, women's organisations, trade unions and other NGOs are trying to promote a stronger standard of protection. But also present are employers' groups and some governments which are seeking to undermine it, arguing for the need for flexibility in the labour market.

It is now time for society as a whole to acknowledge the reproductive and productive role that women play, both in social and in economic terms, by ensuring that women do not face discrimination as a result of pregnancy and childbirth.

Socialist International Women therefore:

  • Reaffirms the need, value and social importance of maternity protection
  • Supports and joins other initiatives and campaigns with this objective
  • Appeals to governments, trade unions and other parties taking part in the review process to ensure that no regressive measures are adopted and that the resulting Convention strengthens the standards of maternity protection.



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International Women’s Day is an opportunity to focus our attention on recommitting ourselves to proactively ending gender inequality and eradicating the daily suffering experienced by millions of females worldwide...


The First Hundred Years

A Short History of Socialist International Women

By Irmtraut Karlsson

This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women