Friday, May 23, 2008

Mothering in the U.S.

In the news recently is the sobering reminder that mothers in the U.S. face a variety of challenges to their health and wellbeing. From the National Association of Mothers' Centers e-news:

"...the United States placed 27th in an international ranking of best and worst countries in which to be a mother.

That's right, 27th!

The US-based, independent global humanitarian organization Save the Children has published its 9th annual Mother's Index as part of its State of the World's Mothers 2008 report. The well-being of mothers is analyzed and compared in 146 countries.

Analysts looked at a number of factors, including the likelihood of death in childbirth, female life expectancy, expected years of female schooling, maternity leave benefits, participation of women in national government, and the ratio of female to male earned income.

The US has the highest risk of maternal mortality in the developed world. Women are only 17% of elected legislators in the US Congress. There is no nationally guaranteed paid maternity or paternity leave, and women only earn 66% of what men earn. The US fell one place in the ranking this year, having held the 26th spot in 2007.

The top ten countries in which to be a mother include: Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, France, and Finland. Other countries ranking better than the US are: Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Greece, the United Kingdom, and Lithuania."

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