Ban highlights ‘timeless importance of mothers’ on International Day

15 May 2009

In an ever-changing world facing multiple challenges, the timeless importance of mothers and their invaluable contribution to raising the next generation remains a constant factor, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

In a message for the International Day of Families, observed on 15 May, Mr. Ban stressed that mothers play a critical role in the family, which is a powerful force for social cohesion and integration.

This year’s theme, “Mothers and Families: Challenges in a Changing World,” focuses on the important role of mothers for families and communities around the world.

“The mother-child relationship is vital for the healthy development of children. And mothers are not only caregivers; they are also breadwinners for their families. Yet women continue to face major – and even life-threatening – challenges in motherhood,” noted the Secretary-General.

While childbirth should be a cause for celebration, it is a grave health risk for too many women in developing countries, he pointed out. A woman in a least-developed country is 300 times more likely to die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications than a woman in a developed country.

“We must make pregnancy and childbirth safer by enabling health systems to provide family planning, skilled attendance at birth and emergency obstetric care,” stressed Mr. Ban.

In addition, he said it is also vital to combat violence against women, which remains “one of the most pervasive human rights violations of our time,” as well as to ensure universal access to education.

“The benefits of educating women and girls accrue not only to individual families but to whole countries, unlocking the potential of women to contribute to broader development efforts,” he noted.


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