Editorial: Mind our mothers

Editorial: Mind our mothers
Photo from vecteezy.com

There is every reason to celebrate mothers. Beyond sentimental attachment to the women who gave birth and nurtured us to maturity and independence, studies establish how essential every mother is for the thriving and full actualization of a child’s potentials and opportunities.

Empowering mothers means securing the future also of their children. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) hinge on SDG 5, securing gender equality.

Achieving gender equality means respect for and promotion of the human rights of girls and women.

Education is a primary means for enabling girls and women to achieve self-development and independence.

SDG 4 underscores making quality education available to all genders. When stakeholders make quality education inclusive and equitable, this results in promoting lifelong learning, a mindset that benefits not just women and men but also their children and other dependents.

Especially in societies that impose traditional, conventional expectations and limitations based on gender, quality education makes inroads in dismantling the imbalances of power and influences embedded in gender relations.

Education begets higher aspiration. Learning raises a woman’s aspirations to defer marriage and pregnancy in pursuit of higher studies and a career.

Biology should not be destiny. Inclusive education recognizes that society benefits when women are not indoctrinated that they are destined only to be wives, partners, and mothers.

By opting to postpone or avoid having children, a woman is conscious and more responsible about accepting, if at all, the responsibility of raising another human being, providing him or her sustenance, education and lifelong support.

SDGs 4 and 5 recognize the right of women to make informed choices for their welfare and that of their children and other dependents, like aging parents.

From the perspective of women in middle-income and upper economic brackets, these choices involve higher education, jobs and careers.

For women with limited access to resources and opportunities, gender equality and quality education may prioritize their reproductive health and their children’s survival.

Last May 3, the international nongovernment organization (NGO) Save the Children underscored how contemporary armed conflict and climate change make more precarious maternal health and infant survival in vulnerable communities.

Nearly one in five children or about 17 percent will enter the world without a doctor, nurse or midwife present, noted the child rights organization in an article posted on their official website.

Mothers and their children are among the most vulnerable in evacuation centers set up for households displaced by fire, natural calamities, war and other social disruptions.

Climate change and its effect on increased frequency and severity of extreme heat and wildfires heighten “risks of preterm birth, stillbirths and pregnancy complications,” Save the Children noted in their analysis.

The United Nations’ goal of lowering to 70 deaths per 100,000 births globally by 2030 is still the target. However, there should be no complacency among stakeholders as, according to the 2023 research of the World Health Organization, “a woman dies from complications due to childbirth or pregnancy every two minutes.”

Due to sustained public advocacy, citizens are more sensitized about assistance to evacuation centers. Instead of infant formula milk that raises risks of contamination due to the lack of water and poor sanitation in evacuation centers, breast milk banks and breastfeeding trainings are organized to minimize the risks to infant survival at evacuation centers.

Stakeholders are also more vigilant about monitoring the greater exposure of mothers and their minors to human trafficking due to their displacement by war and other disasters.

Beyond a one-day celebration of mothers, we should not blink in our watch to ensure the well-being and security of mothers and their children.

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