Statement by Minister Fantino: Mother's Day

May 12, 2013

Today, as we mark Mother's Day, we celebrate the contributions that mothers here in Canada and around the world make as leaders, caregivers, providers, and role models.

The health and prosperity of families and communities are strongly linked to that of mothers. Over the last century, women in Canada have made significant gains in maternal health, access to education, and political rights. Sadly, elsewhere in the world, not every mother has the rights that mothers have here in Canada. In many developing countries, women still lack access to basic medical care and cannot secure enough food for themselves and their families. These barriers prevent these mothers from reaching their full potential.

Physical and sexual violence, high rates of maternal mortality, lower levels of education, lack of property rights, income inequality, and exclusion from decision-making continue to undermine development gains for women and mothers. These inequities also have broader consequences for the poor: if families, communities, and future generations are to succeed and prosper, we must continue to confront and eliminate barriers to the achievement of women's rights, while ensuring that women and girls remain central to our development efforts.

A mother's contribution can significantly help communities prosper and grow economically. We know that when a mother receives an additional year of schooling, her wages increase by at least 10 percent, thus enabling her to invest more in her children's future. Earlier this year, I visited Ethiopia where I met Worknesh Wade, a client weaver of a Canadian funded project. This project has helped Worknesh and 10,000 farmers and textile producers in her community access growing markets and enhance their production techniques and technologies. In one year, the entrepreneurs have increased their wages by 14 percent. Worknesh was able to use the additional earnings to purchase a home and provide basic support for her family. This is exactly the kind of project that Canada is proud to support as it delivers tangible results, helps lift families out of poverty, and puts countries on a track to becoming self-sustaining.

On Mother's Day, we celebrate mothers everywhere. By championing gender equality, maternal, newborn and child health, women's economic empowerment, and the elimination of gender-based violence, Canada is helping the world reach its full potential..

Happy Mother's Day!

Julian Fantino
Minister of International Cooperation