Norway Best Country to be a Mother; Afghanistan Worst; U.S. Slips to 31st
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Norwegian Mother and Child by Gustav Vigeland
Western Europe is the place to be for a mom, with Norway leading the way by example. According to Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers report, Norway was ranked No. 1 among all countries when it comes to access to health care, education and opportunities.
Eight of the remaining nine top 10 countries are also in Western Europe: Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany and Spain. The other two in the top 10 are Australia (No. 2) and New Zealand (eighth).
The United States came in 31st out of 44 developed countries, dropping three spots from last year’s rankings. The U.S. loses points for a variety of reasons. According to Save the Children, “The United States has the least generous maternity leave policy—both in terms of duration and percent of wages paid—of any wealthy nation.” It also has the highest rate of maternal deaths of any industrialized nation, a relatively low proportion of children enrolled in pre-school (58%) and limited representation of women in the national legislature. Only 17% of Congressional seats are held by women compared, for example, to 45% in Sweden and 43% in Iceland.
The worst place in the world for mothers is Afghanistan, where they are at least 200 times more likely to die during childbirth than from bombs or bullets. Barely better off than Afghan mothers, from the bottom up, are those from Niger, Guinea-Bissau and Yemen.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers Report Ranks Best and Worst Places to Be a Mom (Save the Children)
FAQ About the Mothers’ Index (Save the Children) (pdf)
2011 Mothers ’ Index Rankings (Save the Children) (pdf)
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