On International Women’s Day: Imagining a World without Mothers

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, a global event which celebrates women around the world.

Juslene is a Midwives for Haiti graduate and post-partum nurse at St. Therese Hospital in Hinche, Haiti — a country that lacks skilled birth attendants. Juslene works hard everyday to provide safe and comprehensive care for mothers and their babies in Haiti. She’s an example of what is possible when mothers are cared for, and what is possible when women are educated, have equal access to education and can contribute to their communties. (Photo: Monique Jaques for Every Mother Counts, Haiti, March 2017)

International Women’s Day is a time to push for true equality and equity in all spheres of power: economic, political, and social.

The organizers of January’s Women’s March and others have designated March 8th for another day to action. This year, ‘A Day Without a Woman’ and the International Women’s Strike call for women around the world to strike, boycott, march, or otherwise show support in demanding recognition of the rights of girls and women, and the contributions they make to society every day.

They are calling for women to make an impact by being absent– forcing the world to stop and think: what would happen if women were taken out of the equation for a day?

Whether you choose to participate tomorrow or not, try to imagine a world without women. That would be a world without community health workers, nurses, doctors, teachers, cooks, social workers, engineers, scientists, researchers, babysitters, cashiers, and others.

A World Without Mothers

Effect on Children: Every year, more than 1 million children are left without a mother because of maternal death, which are mostly preventable. These children are less likely to receive the proper nutrition, healthcare and education they need to thrive. And, overall, children who have lost their mothers are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely than their peers, and 10 times more likely to die within two years of their mother’s death.

Effect on Families: If you take a mother out of the equation, the entire family struggles. In rural China, for example, households with a maternal death have, on average, 3.2 times more in debt burden than those without. Families dealing with maternal deaths are hit hard financially in every country.

Effect on Communities: Every year, over $15 billion in productivity is lost due to maternal and newborn death, which places a large burden on developing nations. Unfortunately, we’re already too aware of what happens when a community doesn’t have access to trained providers like midwives, who are mostly women. It is estimated that around 50% of women across the globe do not have access to skilled delivery assistance, and we know that the number of maternal deaths are higher in areas where women do not have an experienced birth attendant.

Vicky, student midwife at Corazon del Agua, shares her experience helping women deliver babies in her community in Totonicapan, Guatemala. Most women dying from pregnancy-related causes in Guatemala live in impoverished, often isolated indigenous communities. Gender inequality, poverty, and discrimination toward poor, indigenous women contribute to preventing many women and girls from accessing quality care. (Photo: Stephanie-Freid Perenchio Photography)

Women are crucial members of society. When women are present, when they survive and thrive, their children, their families, their communities, their countries thrive. It’s a simple equation, really. We know the very real costs — both in money and in lives — that come with removing women from the picture. That’s why Every Mother Counts is dedicated to making pregnacy and childbirth safer for every mother, everywhere.

For more information on what you can do, visit Women’s March and Women’s Strike.

You can also learn more about our work at Every Mother Counts here.


Topics: Childbirth, Maternal Health, Women