This International Women’s Day we are partnering with Every Mother Counts. March 8th is the day to bring awareness to the inequalities that still affect women to this day, in memory of those women who participated in one of the first women’s marches in New York City on March 8, 1857. By remembering all the women that came before us who fought for so many of the rights we have now, we are able to carry on their strength and continue to grow it for all of the women that come after us. This is not only just a day but should be a long-lasting effort where we bring attention to gender equality, equal pay, violence and abuse against women, and women’s reproductive rights. We should be moving forward in history by learning the efforts that have already been made and continue to expand upon them.
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Wanted pregnancies are usually a cause for celebration, but unfortunately, to many women, this may not be the case. 99% of all maternal deaths happen in the developing world and almost all of them would be prevented by ensuring that these women had quality and equitable care. Since 2010 Every Mother Counts has invested more than $24 million into women’s maternal health. Efforts they have participated in include providing mothers with proper reproductive or maternal care by trained professionals in facilities that meet health and safety standards. They also provide care to their children, not limited to immediately after birth but carrying it on to ensure the long-term health of the mother and child. Being a mother looks different in everyone’s eyes and Every Mother Counts realizes this, this is why they believe in Choices in Childbirth, a program that is available to all women who use their resources, but also widely available to the public. Their online resources are very useful educational tools for everybody to use and by taking the time to understand the extent of what may be happening is taking a step in the right direction.
Discrimination based on race and socioeconomic status, can result in harmful practices like forced marriage and genital mutilation, or even just a lack of trained healthcare providers, all contribute to poor maternal health. Many of these issues are located in countries where women of colour are the majority and poverty is high. In Guatemala, Mayan indigenous women are two times more likely to have a maternal death than non-Indigenous women due to discrimination and a lack of access to quality and safe care. In Bangladesh, just over half of births are attended to by a trained specialist and there are only around four nurses or midwives available for around every 100,000 people. Due to the shortage of healthcare workers more than 5,000 women die in Bangladesh because of birth-related complications every year. In Haiti, there is the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western hemisphere, due to a severe lack of trained medical providers or medical equipment. Home births are usually opted for in Haiti, but that severely limits access to any emergency treatments. Tanzania has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Due to a variety of reasons like lack of transportation, underdeveloped roads, and a lack of skilled medical personnel, women are unable to get the help that they deserve and just around half of all births happen without any skilled help.
But these issues aren’t just limited to outside of the UK and US. In the UK, maternal death rates are 2-4 times higher among Black and Asian women compared to deaths in white women. In the USA, maternal death rates among Black and Asian women are 2-3 times higher. In studies by BMJ Global Health, they found that women who experienced racial discrimination were 40% more likely to have a premature birth. Another charity, Birthrights, conducted an inquiry and found that more than half of Black, Brown and mixed ethnicity women who raised concerned about theirs and their babies health were dismissed, ignored or disbelieved. Medical professionals are also not always equipped to recognise certain conditions on non-white babies, as white bodies is the norm in medical curriculums.
Female empowerment and care is extremely important to us. We are a female-founded and run company so we understand the issues women face. Mothers are important to us – they are our colleagues, our friends and customers. These issues are near and dear to our hearts and we are using the platform that we have collected of strong and empowered women to hopefully bring some of that to other women around the world that are less fortunate.
Every Mother Counts hopes to bring an end to the unnecessary loss of our mothers by supporting organizations led by women for women. By partnering with local organizations in areas that face historic marginalization, Every Mother Counts is ensuring that every mother and child is getting the proper care they need. And that is why this International Women’s Day, 10% of our sales on selected items is going directly to Every Mother Counts.
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The money donated is directly given to grants for women-run organizations that help train local women in becoming skilled in birthing practices and providing proper medical equipment to facilitate proper and safe births in countries that do not have access to them in the first place. They also help by spreading awareness about these issues through storytelling, research, data, and providing articles and films that can be extremely beneficial to anyone around the world that is having a hard time dealing with pregnancy and becoming a mother. Helping spread the voices of these women that wouldn’t necessarily have one is also a large part in how this organization is able to advocate for political reform in many of these developing countries but also in ones that have had recent turmoil. Every Mother Counts was founded by Christy Turlington Burns an American model who had her own struggle giving birth to her daughter. This opened her eyes to see that if she didn’t have the resources that she did, she may not be here today. By understanding that not having a proper and safe birth is not a matter of luxury but a necessity, Every Mother Counts wants to ensure that every mother gets the care that they need.
So on International Women’s Day, help us raise money for this important cause (and treat yourself to some lingerie!). If you prefer, you can directly make your donation via Every Mother Counts.