February is for lovers but March is definitely for Mothers.
Regardless of whether you take part willingly in Mother’s Day or send out that card with a whine that “this is just the greeting-card schmaltz-fest between Valentine’s and Father’s Day” most of us will at least be sending a card, even in these cash-strapped times.
This is what Mother’s Day means for us in the UK: a card, some flowers, to celebrate one special relationship. Look at the day through a feminist – and international – perspective, however, and it’s a very different picture.
Maternal morality rates continue to beggar belief across the world. In 2004 a World Bank study pointed out that deaths in pregnancy and childbirth were 3.84 times more numerous than deaths caused by HIV and AIDS in poor countries. In Ethiopia – where Maternity Worldwide’s largest project is based – the lifetime risk of maternal mortality is one in seven.
Reports on the current state of global population health tend to focus on infectious diseases as the leading causes of death in developing countries while the plight of hundreds of thousands of women and girls dying in childbirth every year has remained largely invisible.
The fact is that this is not just a health issue. Motherhood is a feminist issue. Maternal mortality rates are directly sustained by gender inequality across the world.
Where women’s status and autonomy is low, maternal mortality rates are high. Time after time it has been found where women aren’t socially, culturally and economically subordinated within societies maternal mortality rates are reduced.
One of the problems found in developing countries, for example, is that, in developing regions, 40% of women give birth before reaching 20 years old. Since girls have a 20-200% higher risk of dying from pregnancy complications than adult women we really are talking about a large number of girls and young women who are dying needlessly.
These problems are not difficult to put right – motherhood isn’t a disease, after all – allowing women to access proper medical care and information is all it takes.
That’s why this Mother’s Day Maternity Worldwide is suggesting a different kind of Mother’s Day gift.
For just £15 Maternity Worldwide will send a personalised Safe Birth Certificate straight to your mum and send everything – from the hospital bed to the training for the midwife – to a woman giving birth in a developing country. Your gift will also support Maternity Worldwide’s Women’s Groups projects which offer women in Ethiopia the opportunity to gain financial independence and gain access to life-saving health information.
Thanks for reading and we hope that you’ll support our campaign.By: Julia Kukiewicz, 18.03.2009 | Comments (1)