Happy International Women's Day!

by - Friday, March 08, 2013

I hope everyone has been aware of the information floating around today! One of the great things about International Women's Day is that it brings to light issues people may not realize still face women on massive scales (genital mutilation, child brides, and sexual trafficking are ones I have seen a lot today, and it is overwhelming and sad how huge these problems are).

 If you don't consider yourself a feminist, today is a good day to ask why the hell not? If you think girls having their genitals mutilated is wrong, you may be a feminist. If you can recognize that on a global scale, women are still grossly mistreated and denied choices that are essential to their safety, health, and identities, maybe you are a feminist. At the very least, today spotlights how many things are left to be done to help others, so it is easy enough for anyone (and I mean ANYONE) can try to identify ways to make the world a better place ( Kristi York Wooten wrote a piece on things we can do here).

The politics and debates around childbirth are at the forefront of my mind right now, as I have watched some of my best friends, the women I love most in the world, go through the challenges, anxieties, and choices of conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. Spawning is contentious business, and it seems that for every choice they make, 10 people are right there to give them an opinion. The politics of the hospital are hotly debated in the United States (the biggest arguments seem to be around the upswing in c-sections).

What is even scarier is how few of these choices are available to mothers around the world (you can see it in the high mortality rates in mothers in some countries. Every Mother Counts is an organization that sprouted out of the documentary film "No Woman, No Cry." You can check out the website here. The film is meant to raise awareness for the struggles faced by women across the world (specifically Tanzania, Guatemala, Bangladesh, and the US) around childbirth- the filmmaker, Kristi Turnligton Burns (who I think used to be a model?) made the film when she realized that if she had her child in some of these places, she would have died. I know that my sister-in-law had two really challenging deliveries, and I am so grateful that she was in places where she and her babies could get what they needed to be healthy and to identify potential future problems.

This particular organization is clearly growing a lot, so there is plenty of room to get involved. They work on issues we take for granted, like having safe transportation to the hospital and having simple medical equipment. They are also involved in the training of housewives in Uganda, Haiti, and Afghanistan. I think we can all agree, whether we are moms or not (because we all have moms at least) that every woman and her baby deserves a safe delivery. If you are a mom, they even have spaces just for you to share your story.

Childbirth is a contentious issue within the United States, but the risks involved are even more urgent and difficult on a global scale. If you are looking for a way to get involved, this is a great opportunity, no matter your politics. Women's health care can be looked over, but it is so important.

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