Today in London’s Houses of Parliament, Katy Woods from White Ribbon Alliance took part in a lively discussion with women politicians from across Africa.
Women Ministers of health and education invest in poverty reduction more than their male counterparts, which begs the question - where would we be if more women were in government? Would women still be needlessly dying in childbirth?
Many governments have reduced maternal death rates regardless of the wealth of their country. This is due to one key ingredient, political will – and this was in abundance at today's Westminster round table discussion. The thrust of the discussion was clear; women’s parliamentary caucuses have an important role in ensuring the delivery of their governments’ commitments to maternal health.
Today, these MPs were calling for more information, more integration and more collaboration. Last year when Ghanaian politicians signed up to the 'Politician's Pledge' coordinated by White Ribbon Alliance members and advocates in Ghana (to accelerate progress on maternal health), it was the women politicians who were calling for action. "The Women's Parliamentary Caucus must be engaged in this campaign,” insisted the Hon. Gifty Eugenia Kusi, MP, Ghana. “We are in Government, and we can make the changes."
In Sierra Leone and Zambia, the focus has been on building on progress already made. 'We must keep up the momentum for this issue,” said the Hon. Ms. Dora Siliya MP, Zambia. “We do not hear enough about maternal health in Parliament. We must keep up the pressure. Citizens need to push us to do this.'
White Ribbon Alliance is a global advocacy movement of individuals and organisations campaigning to end needless deaths in childbirth.
Photo (1): Hon. Irene Naa Torshie Addo, 1st Deputy Minority whip and only female minority leader in Parliament, signs the pledge.
Photo (2): Hon. Prof N. Luo, Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Hon. Gifty Eugenia Kusi, former Deputy Chief whip and colleagues all commit to reducing maternal deaths in their countries.
Source: The White Ribbon Alliance