This weekend, despite being the Fourth of July, was a matter of three's. I received three requests for support for issues involving Millennium Development Goal 3. Gender Equity. I was able to get a mention in each of the campaigns about Stand Up Take Action's focus this year on holding governments accountable for improving the status of women and their rights. Stand Up Take Action will be focusing on improving maternal mortality or hunger and nutritional status for women and girls in poor countries. The campaigns below focus on some of the other critical issues that must be faced if we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals at the most basic level, family.
The Change.org Team in partnership with friends at the United Nations Foundation wrote me about the Afghan Women Empowerment Act introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
Young women and girls account for one-eighth of the world's population. And even though many are the primary caregivers and breadwinners in their household -- most still do not enjoy even basic human rights.They also sent me an invitation to make the pledge "to Support H.R. 1410: Newborn, Child, and Mother Survival Act of 2009 that was originated from the Hunger Site".
This situation is especially acute in Afghanistan, where despite efforts by the U.S. government, the United Nations, and others to improve the lives of women and girls, many still lack access to basic health care and schools. Many face violence and intimidation, daily. And Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
You can ensure these basic rights for the women of Afghanistan by asking your senator to support The Afghan Women Empowerment Act introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). This bill is critical as the maternal death rate for Afghan women is tragically high -- with one mother dying for every 56 births -- because it provides equipment, medical supplies and other assistance to health care facilities to reduce maternal and infant mortality. The bill also funds programs to protect women and girls against sexual and physical abuse, abduction, trafficking, exploitation, and includes emergency shelters for women and girls who face danger from violence.
Every year, more than 9 million children die from preventable and treatable diseases, and more than 536,000 women die from pregnancy and birth-related causes around the globe. These deaths can be prevented if health services are provided to parts of the world where they are most needed. This is a good investment: ensuring not only the survival but the good health of women and children now means reduced health costs in the future and higher productivity in communities.
Care asked me to send a letter to my Senate representatives asking them to take immediate action and co-sponsor the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009.
60 million girls around the world are married before the age of 17 -- many to men more than twice their age or older? Child marriage is a human rights violation that puts young girls at risk and keeps them mired in poverty. When a girl is forced to marry at a young age, it diminishes her chance at an education, endangers her health and puts her at increased risk of lifelong poverty. Young brides are more likely to become young mothers, and girls under the age of 15 are five times more likely to die of childbirth than a woman in her 20s.
The Millennium Development Goals may be only eight in number, but they cover hundreds of different issues being addressed by thousands of people in hundreds of organizations. Makes sense to me that if we can create some cross-fertilizations regarding these challenges and issues, we should.