While MADRE joins with advocates who recognize that all eight of the Millennium Development Goals are directly linked to women's rights issues, MDG 3 is one of the few goals that specifically address the needs of women.
MDG 3 aims to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women. The United Nation's target is to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably in 2005, and in all levels of education, no later than 2015. Ultimately, this target only addresses one of many objectives in the fight for gender equality and the empowerment of women. MDG 3 disregards various elements that need attention if we are to ever achieve true gender equality, such as endemic violence against women, discrimination, stereotypes, laws, and customs that violate women's human rights. As such, this goal advocates for change without combating the underlying processes that make such change unattainable.
Since the organization's founding in 1983, MADRE has been fighting to promote gender equality and empower women, by exposing, opposing, and eradicating those very root causes that undermine justice for women. In all of our partnerships, we aim to make justice for women a reality. This is certainly true of MADRE's work in Iraq. Since the United States illegally invaded Iraq in 2003, there has been a sharp rise in violence against women, including domestic violence and honor killings. Iraqi widows are particularly prone to violence and discrimination, as they face the double-discrimination of being a woman and a non-virgin not afforded the opportunity to remarry. (Click here for more information on the situation of women in Iraq following the U.S. invasion).
In partnership with our sister organization, the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), MADRE co-founded the first network of women's shelters in the non-Kurdish region of Iraq to provide a safe haven for women fleeing violence, with special attention paid to widows. OWFI also launched Al Mousawat "Equality" Radio in 2009 to lend women a much-needed voice in rebuilding their country.
For more on MADRE's coverage of MDG 3, click here.
For more on MDG 3, watch UNIFEM's video on Liberia, a country seeking to correct gender inequalities after being engulfed by a brutal civil war, most notably through the eradication of violence against women and the placement of women in decision-making positions: