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March 8 is 98th International Women’s Day

March 8 is 98th International Women's DayThis Sunday, March 8, we will be celebrating the International Women’s Day (IWD). For a brief history of IWD, check out last year’s IWD post.

This year’s global theme set by the United Nations is “Women and men united to end violence against women and girls” although each participating country may decide on its own theme. However, the global theme on violence against women especially in developing countries is as relevant today as it was decades ago. According to a former UN Peacekeeping Operations commander, it is more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier in times of conflict. Rape and sexual violence are especially rampant in times of war but women continue to be vulnerable even after the conflict has ended.

In relation to problems with pregnancy and motherhood, some of the issues being faced by women today are:

  • India grapples with high maternal death rate
    UNICEF figures estimate that about 78,000 mothers die during delivery and from complications of pregnancy in India every year. The country’s maternal mortality rate is 450 per 100,000 live births. This is 9 times higher compared to 50 per 100,000 live births reported in China. This is despite India’s rapidly growing economy.
  • Birth control knowledge lacking in developing world
    Several studies conducted in 5 countries revealed a lack of knowledge about birth control among women in developing countries. Inaccessibility, lack as well as misleading information are the main factors limiting effective contraception in these countries
  • 4 in 10 births worldwide not attended by doctor or health professional
    Over half a million expectant and new mothers die each year (mostly in Africa and Asia) due to lack of professional obstetrical and postnatal care.

More than 60 countries will be celebrating this global event this weekend. Check for a local event near you!

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