Media Release: Mothers face barriers in registering the birth of a child, says study

WOMEN face legal and cultural barriers registering the birth of a child across the world and, despite legislation in most countries entitling a mother to register her newborn baby, new research has found indirect discrimination and cultural practices often make it difficult or impossible for her to do so.

On 8 March 2012, to coincide with International Women’s Day, Mother to Child, a report commissioned by children’s rights organisation, Plan International, was published, the research for which was led by Professor Rebecca Wallace, director of the Centre for Rural Childhood at Perth College UHI.

She explains: “The findings suggest that although the strict letter of the law may allow for women to register children, other factors such as lack of implementation of laws, the attitudes of officials administering the laws, prejudice and discriminatory traditional customs still operate.”

Conducted over three months and covering 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean in which Plan works, the findings make several recommendations towards the work required to affect change.

These include: awareness-raising of women’s position within society, particularly against the background of discriminatory traditional practices; up-to-date training of relevant officials to ensure they are have knowledge of legal developments and can conduct their duties professionally and efficiently and to ensure legislators are made aware of the consequences of legislative provisions in practice; for example, not to assume the head of household is male.

To read the full report, see

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