Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Consider me humbled. I complain frequently about how, in my family, we struggle to get by on one income, our so-called health insurance is rediculous with the cost of the out of pocket expenses we are responsible for, women's issues and reproductive rights in this country, how stores like Walmart and Target are really bad for the working poor, how this country should be doing more to get off of Big Oil, but in all reality, compared to many countries, compared to what many mothers have to deal with, we have it darn good here. Not as good as ten other industrialized nations, mind you, but really good considering I even have the luxurry of being able to bitch about these things when many other mothers still have to worry about living through childbirth, and, if so, if the baby will survive past its first birthday. The annual report done by Save the Children, a global humanitarian organization that fights to increase the quality of life of all children, "illustrates the direct lines between the status of mothers and the status of their children." In countries where mothers are treated well and provided for, children do well. Scandanavian countries top the list, while the US is tied with the United kingdon for 10th place. Here are some sad realities for nations that came in last on the list:

COUNTRY COMPARISONS: The Mothers' Index exposes an enormous disparity between the highest- and lowest-scoring countries and underscores an urgent need to address this divide. For instance, in Sweden, which tops the list, nearly all women are literate. In contrast, only 34 percent of Ethiopian women are literate. And a mother in Ethiopia is 37 times more likely to see her child die in the first year of life than a mother in Sweden.

  • Compared to a mother in the top 10 countries, a mother in the bottom 10 countries is 28 times more likely to see her child die in the first year of life and over 750 times more likely to die herself in pregnancy or childbirth.
  • In the bottom 10 countries, nearly 1 out of 3 children is not enrolled in school and only 1 out of 4 adult women is literate. In the top 10 countries, virtually all children go to school and all women are literate.
  • Skilled health personnel attend fewer than 15 percent of births in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Nepal.
  • Fewer than 5 percent of women use modern contraception in Chad, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.
  • Zeroing in on only those indicators that capture children’s well-being, Somalia finishes in last place. More than 1 out of every 7 children in Somalia die before his or her first birthday, 71 percent of the population has no access to safe drinking water, and 17 percent of children are suffering from malnutrition. The situation for Somali mothers is equally dismal: 1 in 10 women dies in childbirth; 75 percent of all newborns are delivered without skilled health personnel and 78 percent of pregnant women have anemia.This organization and this report really puts things in perspective.

While I will still continue to promote mothers' rights and family rights in this country, I will do so grateful that I have been able to deliver all my children in a hospital filled with skilled medical personnel, that I take for granted that my children have lived to see their first birthdays, that all my children will be educated and literate (most will probably go to college even if they must take out loans to do so), that my children and I have clean drinking water, that I live in a country where I have the ability and luxury of complaining and working toward something better.


Blogger HomeFireBlue said...


And thanks for the link to MomsRising!


17 May, 2006 12:57  
Blogger Sheri said...

well said sista.

I am humbled as well.

Great post!

17 May, 2006 17:05  
Anonymous Susan said...

Humbled, so humbled.

17 May, 2006 17:09  
Blogger Melody said...


17 May, 2006 19:21  
Blogger wolfbaby said...

So sad that things aren't better all around the world... thinks for the links.

18 May, 2006 10:34  

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