According to the 14th Annual Mothers’ Index issued by the NGO Save the Children (Red Barnet), Denmark ranks 6th best place to be a mother. Finland topped the list of countries, followed by Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Netherlands. Niger, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and DR Congo, on the other hand, are the worst out of 176 countries. The countries were ranked according to five indicators: maternal health, children’s well-being, educational, economic and political status. From the report, it is apparent that the Nordic countries are succeeding in providing the best conditions for mothers and their children. Meanwhile, the poorest and conflict-infested nations at the bottom of the list show figures that are grim and heartbreaking.
Among the reasons why Denmark has been consistently on top of the list are the country’s policies on gender equality, safe environment, the accessibility of essential obstetric care, effective contraceptive practices and an excellent maternity leave scheme :52 weeks of maternity leave with benefits and up to 14 weeks after the baby is born; fathers are also entitled to a 2 week leave within the first 14 weeks of the child’s birth. Denmark has it good and perhaps why the Danes were deemed the happiest people in the world.
As a woman looking into becoming a mother in the future, it is comforting to know that living in Denmark means I am guaranteed outstanding maternal benefits and the best possible care for me and my children. However, as someone coming from a country belonging to the lower half of the list, it is disturbing to think that while superior maternal conditions are accessible to some, there are still a lot of countries where even the most basic needs of children and mothers are not being met. This stark constant can be significantly reduced if only life-saving measures such as female education, family planning and skilled birth attendants can be made available to the countries where help is needed the most.
Read the report and learn how you can take action.