On May 5th each year, midwives, women, girls, partners and supporters of midwives and midwifery globally come together to celebrate the International Day of the Midwife (IDM) with their own activities, driven by one strong, collective voice.
The theme of this year’s International Day of the Midwife is “Midwives with women: Celebrate. Demonstrate. Mobilise. Unite.” The focus is on how midwives and women can partner together to mobilise and unite towards a common goal of gender equality. Midwives play a vital role in gender equality movement. Every day, midwives in every part of their work are upholding women’s right to quality and midwife-led care throughout the childbirth continuum
COVID-19 has aggregated gender inequality across the globe—as the main child caregivers, women have been impacted by the closure of schools and daycare centers; more likely to be in part-time jobs, women have been among the first to be laid off; and stay at home restrictions have resulted in increased domestic violence. Midwives work every day to empower women and girls and to achieve gender equality. During this unprecedented times, midwives may be the only contact outside the home for many women, acting as counsellors, mediators and even lifelines
Giving birth during a health crisis can be frightening and dangerous, yet midwives are working diligently, reassuring, providing care and support and ensuring parents and children are protected and safe.
How Midwives can be gender equality advocates in their communities:
Being bold and brave and speak for women’s and girl’s rights in their countries and communities
Fight injustices in every space you see them, from female genital mutilation, sexual violence, harassment, and unfair and unequal treatment of women and girls
Strengthen their partnerships with women as a vital part in delivering quality care and ensure respectful maternity care is central to their work
Educate women on their rights to informed choice about their bodies and their lives which includes pregnancy, normal childbirth and contraception
Encourage women to ask healthcare professionals questions about their decisions and not be coerced into any early medical interventions
Advocate equal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls
We therefore call on midwives to become gender champions in their communities and to become stronger partners with women, as defender’s and protectors of women’s rights. It’s time to take action!