Happy Mother's Day, ladies! Hopefully you're in for a weekend of sleeping in, massages, breakfast/lunch/dinner out, and lots of cards and flowers. And hopefully that will make up for the fact that the United States is again poorly ranked in the Save the Children Mother's Index on the best and worst places to be a mom in the world. Perhaps I'll ask for a facial with that massage this year.
As the moms of Scandinavia dominate the top of the list (again!), the United States comes in at a paltry #31 out of the 43 developed countries that are ranked in terms of health, education, and economic conditions for women and children. What the heck? I see plenty of us out and about with our Baby Bjorns. That's got to count for something, right?
Why does it suck so bad to be a mom in one of the wealthiest nations on earth?
First of all, women in America are seven times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women in Italy or Ireland. Greece really mops the floor with us, as our risk is 15 times that of the average pregnant lady living on the islands. Additionally child mortality is quite pathetic in comparison, with the under-5 mortality rate of children in the United States being 8 out of 1,000 births. Which means a child in the United States under the age of 5 is twice as likely to die as a child in 40 other countries including Japan, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Slovenia, and Singapore.
What else is wrong? We have the fifth lowest ranking in the developed world regarding children enrolled in pre-school, the least generous maternity leave policy of ANY wealthy nation, and only 17 percent of congressional seats held by women. Unlike Sweden (45 percent) and Iceland (43 percent). No wonder we don't have those maternity leave policies in place.
Here are the top and bottom countries:
Okay, now I'm depressed and want to eat a bowl of ice cream. Which will not help that whole "maternal death" rate here, but perhaps will make up for the lack of maternity leave and early bonding I had with my babies when I had to go back to work. Yes?
How do you feel about living in a country with such bad news for women and children?
Image via Beverly & Pack/Flickr