By Franka Cadée, President, International Confederation of Midwives
On the 5th of May, the International Day of the Midwife, we come together to celebrate the world’s midwives. There is triumph in women who have received the healthcare they deserve, enshrined in their fundamental human rights. Their rights to be able to space births at a safe and desired pace. The continuity of care from a midwife who understands your body and baby and provides individualised care. The educational standards that ensure midwives give excellent and respectful maternity care that ensure women have positive and safe experiences, and the regulation that enables her to know she is in safe hands.
From time immemorial, midwives and women have had a deep and interconnected relationship. Through the provision of quality care, midwives have built the confidence of women to embrace childbirth as a life-affirming experience.
Through quality care, midwives can raise the collective morale of women, their families, their communities and their societies to define pregnancy as a natural and normal life event whilst ensuring that services reach women wherever it is needed. And wherever the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls can be protected, midwives are there, standing next to them them as is their way.
The What Women Want Campaign seeks to harness the unique voices and perspectives of one million women around the world to state their singular priorities for their own sexual and reproductive health and rights that can then be cultivated to inform policy, programming and strategies that will enable us to work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. As the President of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), I’m proud to support this innovative and necessary venture to give women the platform to decide the agenda that defines their own health and wellbeing. I am proud to call upon the 500,000 midwives who are members of ICM to submit their own perspectives, and encourage the women with whom they work to do the same.
Together, we can find our collective voice.
Together, we can define the conversation.
Together, we can actualise our own futures.
I can’t profess to know what all women want, but I can surmise that in the first instance, it is to have their voices heard and their raised hands counted. That is what the What Women Want campaign will be a platform for. How they use this invaluable opportunity to progress… well, I trust women know and we’ll just have to wait for them to tell us.