2.7 billion live on less than $2/day
1.0 billion of these are children
70% or 1.4 billion are women
But let's not forget the really, really good stuff that is happening in our world.
We are surrounded in and smothered by bad news stories; stories of terrorism, war, global poverty, economic and environmental collapse. My voice is small but I still firmly believe in the power of good people who can change all that. People who have not lost faith in a world that will be restored, people who still have the energy to stand, activate, inspire and encourage. They have gathered together to create powerful groups that are fighting for the protection of our environment, for the restoration of communities devastated by war and natural disaster and for the rights of the most vulnerable. We have learned so much about how to fight for and conquer the world's greatest problems.
Here is some of what I have learned:
It is now firmly believed, based on international research, that eliminating gender disparity is the primary path forward to achieving global prosperity and peace.
A global movement to emancipate women and girls, to unlock women’s power as compassionate, community and family focused leaders and economic catalysts is the most effective way to fight global poverty and restore global security.
In my career, I have delivered thousands of babies and, by the grace of God, not one mother or child died. An intact health care system that is available to all, prevents these deaths.
In resource poor countries with little access to healthcare, one woman a minute or five jumbo jets worth of women, die in childbirth each day. Ninety-nine % of these deaths are preventable. Five Jumbo Jets. All those women. The most common cause of death in childbirth is post-partum hemorrhage. A uterus that doesn't contract after delivery will bleed and if the bleeding is not stopped the mother will bleed to death.
What was the most effective, lifesaving skill I learned in medical school? Once that beautiful newborn was delivered, my hand would automatically go to the top of the mother's uterus where I would apply pressure. That's it. Pressure applied to a uterus makes it contract. A contracting uterus stops bleeding. A new mother does not die and in resource poor countries, that means her children have a much greater chance of survival. She works tirelessly to prevent her children from dying of starvation and disease.
One small manouever, jumbo jets empty, thousands upon thousands of women survive.
In all parts of the world regardless of class or race, women are viewed as the inferior gender, incapable and undeserving of the same rights as men. They are left uneducated and powerless and in this powerless state, they are unable to lead efforts that fight for the health of their communities and countries. In this powerless state, they are unable to join the board room tables and the political decision-making teams that should be creating effective healthcare systems which protect people from dying needlessly and thriving education systems that provide education for all.
Here's the truth: women with equal access to education will more likely survive childbirth, have healthy children and ensure that her children go to school. If women in the developing world are educated for just 1 to 3 years, her country's child mortality rate will decrease by 15%.
“Gender equality produces a double dividend: it benefits both women and children. Without it, it will be impossible to create a world of equity, tolerance and shared responsibility.” UNICEF
The status of women is directly related to the economic health of the community: if women flourish, so does the nation’s economy. UN economist Jeffery Sach’s
Countries that oppress their women are doomed to be failed states. Failed states increase extremism and terrorism which decrease global security.
By simply applying pressure after delivery, thousands of women live. By creating a movement that eliminates gender inequality, countries are saved and the planet becomes a safer and healthier place to live.
Pretty simple from my point of view. So, now that I can lift my emotionally weakened self and extend my arms on my own again, here is what I'd like to do. Why don't we link the women (and men of course) in our country, starting first in our community, with the women of Lesotho? Why don't we create a Women to Women partnership that empowers the mothers in this world to stand up and do what they do best; love and care for their families, their villages and their country.
A team of women have already started this movement and on May 24th we are going to do what we all love to do…..shop. Something special will happen at this event. We will create a new bracelet made by the combined efforts of our female colleagues in Lesotho and the lovely women in our community. It will be beautiful.