Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers I know!
I woke up today and read this article by Nick Kristoff who co-wrote Half The Sky. It was all about how Americans spend 14 billion on Mother’s Day and what that money could do for improving – and saving – the lives of mom’s all over the world. He touched on things like fistulas, maternal mortality, and education for girls. It’s a great column. (And don’t worry, he isn’t preaching against giving moms here flowers and brunch! He’s all about the flowers and brunch!)
This article got me thinking of another article he wrote that I always think back on. It was an article -and video- about, in short, mothers in Haiti. A lot of post-quake discussion about Haiti has discussed the over-population issue, the question, roughly put of “Why do Haitians have so many children they can’t support?” It’s a legit and important question facing all developing nations, as Kristoff says, there’s no way to fight global poverty without limiting fertility.
But unfortunately, some people ask the “Why doesnt she just stop having kids (or sex) ?” question in a disparaging way without really wanting to look at the complexity of the answers. Kristoff’s article talks about this complexity -which is tied into hardcore cultural situations where women have few rights, little education or access to resource, and not a lot of say in something as fundamental as when they have kids or even when they have sex.
It’s an article that pre-dates Half the Sky but hammers home the message of that book which is – the development of the world depends on the development of women as much as men. When women – moms – are treated as equals, given a shot at being what they can be, allowed freedom over the most basic processes of their own lives- then humanity will move forward. Big time.
This seems so true in Haiti. Along with this birth issue, there is also a gigantic problem with sexual assault. It has only gotten worse since the quake in the tent cities. It doesn’t seem unrelated. To really rebuild Haiti, the moms of that country, and all its women, have to be built up, too.
Here’s Kristoff’s Mother’s Day blog article with tons of links for organizations helping women. Maybe put a drop in the bucket in your mom’s name today.