Dear Mothers of PITA-Consumers,
Thank you for serving as THE MOST influential socio-political-economic factor in each of our lives. Regardless of shortcomings related by The World Economic Forum, which compiles the Global Gender Gap Index, and The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, which track the Gender Parity Index, nothing can track the true impact of motherhood on each of our individual human development. In some cases, mothers impact our professional development. No matter what indices we use, the nine-month return on investment is immeasurable.
I first learned about the concept and depth of ‘Human Development‘ from a young, caring physician–who just happened to be a mom. The Human Development Index triggered a series of mother-daughter lessons about “What does it mean for well-being of a person and for the larger society?” Is there a way to get past the cultural-relativism that often dismisses the universal needs for all human beings–regardless of cultural barriers?
The experiences shared by this woman, and the effort to show this particular “pita-consumer” at a young age what villages and other societies undergo to raise their young into productive citizens will never be forgotten. PITAPOLICY will continuously explore the linkages between infant mortality rates to mothers’ care to adult productivity. Moreover, I will try my best to remember how privileged and blessed I have been to have received so much education, time, dedication and love from one of her best “investors”.
Mentors have come and gone in my life. They have enriched me with their “social capital”. Yet, my mom continues to remind me that I’m more than an aggregate measure of health, education, and current standard of living. In the eyes of social justice and government responsibility: My well-being is no more important than the well-being of a “munchkin” in Ethiopia, Mexico, Afghanistan, or Egypt–wherever. That’s why we have mothers: to ensure that our well-being receives an “extra boost” through our moms because governments and society do not have the resources to recognize us as individuals.
The article below will highlight one measure of how society tracks the appreciation for motherhood. Middle East & North African (MENA) countries (PITA-consuming countries) did not make it into the examples because of their governmental policies’ lackluster support for maternity leave and other supportive measures. Thankfully, the people within PITA-consuming countries are defined by other aspects of societal norms and cultural practices. By no means does PITAPOLICY give a free pass to MENA governments’ absent recognition for motherhood in the workplace. PITAPOLICY PITA-consumers: please join PITAPOLIYC and demand that Mothers Day acknowledge the three-dimensional role that mothers lead in the most basic unit of measurement: households. And hug your mom. Again.
PITAPOLICY & Its Contributors
Source: Foreign Policy Magazine by Joshua E. Keating
Save the Children has released its annual State of the World’s Mothers report and once again it’s not a particularly impressive showing for the world’s wealthiest country. The United States comes in 25th place, just behind the dictatorship of Belarus, thanks to alarming rates of pregnancy-related deaths and the low number of children enrolled in preschools.
Here’s a look at how moms in some of the top 24 live.
Save the Children ranking: 1
Norway — a perennial chart-topper on global well-being lists — is extraordinarily generous to new parents. After the birth of a child, both parents are entitled to two weeks of paid leave. After that, they have the option of either another 46 weeks off at full pay or 56 weeks at 80 percent of normal wages — to be divided between the parents. To make sure that dad pitches in, the government requires that at least 10 of the weeks be taken by the father. Before the law was passed, only 3 percent of Norwegian fathers took any paternity leave. Now, 90 percent take at least 12 weeks, and it’s not unusual for even government ministers to take several months off to help during a child’s first year.
The government even gives a special grant to families who choose to have one parent stay home with a child until age two. Should they choose to go back to work, a 37.5-hour workweek and five weeks of guaranteed vacation take a bit of the pressure out of being a working mom. Norway’s fertility rates have diminished somewhat in recent years but are still among the highest in Europe.
Save the Children ranking: 2
The second-best country for mothers is similarly generous when it comes to maternity leave. Both parents have the right to three months of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, plus an additional three months to be divided between the parents. Unemployed parents can qualify for special welfare payments as well. Icelandic mothers are also entitled to free prenatal care, including 10 doctor’s visits, ultrasounds, care from midwives or doctors, and home visits from nurses after the birth. The government also provides quarterly child benefits based on family size.
Because of these policies, Iceland has pulled off the feat of having both the highest rate of women’s participation in the workforce — 82.6 percent — and one of Europe’s highest fertility rates. The World Economic Forum has consistently ranked Iceland as the world’s top country for gender equality. Under Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, half the country’s legislature and four of its 10 cabinet members are women.
The only downside to being a mom in Iceland? You have to choose your child’s name from a government-approved list. Hope you like Haldor and Kaja.