Updated: Dec 17, 2022
For some years now the Mothers’ Union (MU) has not been exclusive to mothers or even the female sex. Although male, I am a one of a few men to be members of the MU. A Christian, charitable organisation. Begun in 1876 by Mary Sumner, the MU has over 4 million members worldwide and is an accredited advisor the the United Nations.
As you can see the MU now admits men to its ranks. I have been unable to establish the date that men were first admitted. It must be in or before 2010, when a man became its chief executive.
The number of men in the MU is remains small after at least 12 years of admission. In the branch of which I am a member, less than 10% are men. I assume similar numbers in other UK branches, though I have no official figures and don’t know if there are any. My suspicion is that in the rest of the world, particularly less developed countries where patriarchy remains dominant, that figure is much lower.
The mission of the Mothers’ Union in the 21st century is equally applicable to men and families as to women. The name of the organisation might put off many men, who assume that “Mothers” in the title automatically excludes them. I’d assumed so myself before an inspiring lady of my acquaintance suggested, I hesitate to say actually invited (mainly because of my memory), that I might join.
Since becoming a member, I have made many new friends and friendships. Unless you become a member, you may not fully appreciate the way that MU members care for and support each other whether men or women. Support in addition to participation in MU projects, such as the Clewer Initiative challenging modern slavery, and supporting refugees, amongst many others. Again projects equally appropriate for men as women.
To make more men aware of the work and potential benefits of the Mothers’ Union, maybe the name needs an update for the 21st century. Perhaps the founder’s name, The Mary Sumner Union (a personal thought, not official). But whether you the reader is male or female, I commend to you the Mothers’ Union which I am proud to be a member.