International Women’s Day: Why Are Mothers Still Dying?

Birth in Lagos from Alice Proujansky on Vimeo.

Today is March 8th, international women’s day. It is a day to rejoice for the amazing advances women as a group has made over the last 100 years, but also to focus on important issues of tomorrow.

My husband always says that equal pay must be the starting point for any viable change towards equality for women. But after seeing Alice Proujansky’s scary and beautiful birth clinic pictures from around the world (see slideshow above from Nigeria, where 1 in 13 women die during pregnancy or in childbirth), listening to Christy Turlington/EveryMotherCounts on Aljaazerah this morning (sign her petition!) and since last year pondering on the success of Ghana’s free health care policy for mothers, I still wonder if global maternity health is not the most important issue for the women of tomorrow.

According to Turlington:

“an additional investment of $1.3 billion per year would save the lives of an estimated 250,000 women and babies per year.”

Then why are mothers still dying to give birth to human kind?

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  1. A timely reminder. People assume because so many women have babies that it’s all smooth sailing – many a man has received a clip across the head for saying “how hard can it be? Women give birth in rice paddies every day!”

  2. Thanks for your comment, Fiona. Yes, women do give birth in all kinds of conditions, but they also die or lose babies, many times totally unnecessarily! It is close to think that if men gave birth, this would not be the case…