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U.N. Official Calls for Strengthening Men's Roles in HIV/AIDS Caregiving

March 6, 2009

Men should be more active in caring for people living with HIV so women have a chance to participate in public life, Asha-Rose Migiro, United Nations deputy secretary-general, said earlier this week at the 53rd session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, IRIN/PlusNews reports. Migiro said, "We must address the significant responsibilities faced by women and girls during home-based care in the context of HIV and AIDS and find ways to strengthen the role of men" (IRIN/PlusNews, 3/4). She said that the inequality in HIV/AIDS caregiving "is unjust and a serious form of discrimination, even a form of violence" against women. Migiro said that women are restricted in public life, employment and education, while men are held back from being more active in their families' lives. "Families, communities and society as a whole suffer the consequences," she said (U.N. News Service, 3/2).

Migiro called for the creation of "innovative ways to eliminate gender stereotypes about the roles of women and men -- beginning at an early age in homes, schools and communities -- and engaging leaders in all walks of life." She said that measures to encourage shared responsibility should include closing the pay gap between men and women, increasing flexibility in working arrangements, and putting better leave provisions in place for both men and women (IRIN/PlusNews, 3/4). Migiro said, "Ensuring that caregivers have the means to do their work effectively has a cost that society must be ready to meet. We must provide adequate resources to empower women and girls who are dedicating their time to looking after people living with HIV" (U.N. News Service, 3/2).

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