Photo of the Week # 5: Dignity
6 weeks to International Women's Day

Stephanie Roberts/CARE

“Even though motherhood is universally revered, often mothers can be mistreated—by health providers, local authorities, or members of their own households—as they go through the process of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. But when women can have a dignified pregnancy and birth—with privacy, respect, and autonomy—they are more likely to seek out care that can prevent complications from pregnancy, and they more likely to attend a hospital for childbirth. They are more likely to survive complications from pregnancy and childbirth, and their children are more likely to thrive.

True empowerment for women means having their rights understood, acknowledged, and respected. When a woman is denied dignified motherhood in her community, she is being denied the right to make her own choices about herself and her family; many of these choices, like the use of birth spacing through family planning, are choices that we know can reduce maternal and infant mortality and increase household well-being. So while we know many ways to improve the health of mothers and infants through medical interventions, the successful delivery of lifesaving treatment rests on every woman being treated with dignity in her community, and on the recognition that personal dignity is essential to the exercise of every person’s rights.” –Jennifer K.

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