Friday, November 25, 2011

The Global Effort to Lower Maternal Mortality

             As Morales states in her essay “The Feminization of Global Security and Violence”, to educate a boy is to educate that human, but to spend the time to educate a girl is to ensure the education of the generations to follow.  Women have an incredibly important role in the upbringing and wellbeing of the generations for which they care.  This is why it is crucial that all women receive adequate education.  The United Nations (U.N.) Millennium Development Goal Number Five addresses this issue in the importance of educating women about reproductive health and safety.  Without keeping women alive long enough to impart wisdom upon those they look after and interact with, they cannot pass down what they know to their child(ren). They also do not have the right to choose how many children they have and how.  As women around the world are generally relied upon and expected to raise children into responsible and respectful adults, they deserve to avoid the tragedies of maternal mortality and universal access to reproductive health services/care.
            The Fifth Goal aims to achieve two things: A reduction by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, of the maternal mortality ratio, as well as to an achievement, by 2015, of universal access to reproductive health.  According to the U.N. , more than 350,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth, with 99% of these deaths occurring in industrializing countries.   The vast majority of these deaths are avoidable, as they are common and able to be handled medically, and the rates are unacceptably high.  If women were to have the care they need and learn how to family plan, these death levels would undoubtedly go down.  An integral part of meeting this goal and of reducing maternal mortality rates is education, but from where does this education come?  Industrialized countries are a large part of this education, but have also done negative things to women of color through birth control testing and sterilization. Globalization is a huge factor here, as the United Nations is kept alive by countries working together. The question we are looking at in a more general sense is how is globalization impacting women within the Global South? .  When did globalization come into play for the women of industrializing nations and what has happened since then?  If the world came to work together, can we meet Millennium Development Goal Number Five by 2015?
             Our group plans to look into the lives of women and the health and safety of such women in three regions of the world: the United States, West Africa, and Southern Asia.  These regions are important to look at as the United States is often looked to as the standard for industrializing nations, though for an industrialized country, it still has an unacceptable rate of maternal mortality and is number 41st in the world for the lowest amount of maternal deaths.  There is still a constant argument as to what reproductive health strategies should be taught to young people in the US and the education is not universal.  West Africa and Southern Asia are also vital to research when looking into the achievement of Millennium Development Goal Number Five because the numbers of skilled health workers in these regions remains low while the maternal mortality is high due to lack of education and access to resources and facilities.  Can globalization improve this?  Can the countries of the world, including those that are developing and those that are developed, work together to achieve Millennium Development Goal Number Five?

Written for SOAN 354 by students: 
Breanna Pendleton (
Caroline Anderson (
Samantha Williams (

United Nations Millennium Development Goal Number Five:

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