Today from Monrovia, Liberia the World Health Organization launched a Commission on Women's Health in Africa.
10 years after governments stepped up at the Millenium Summit to address global women's issues such as maternal mortality and morbidity, and pledged a three-quarter reduction in maternal mortality ratio by 2015, one out of 26 women in sub-Saharan Africa is still at risk of dying during childbirth, becoming infertile or disabled as a result of it.
President Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia says, "That is why we are here today – not only because rationally we understand the importance of these figures but also because we grasp the implication of these numbers with our hearts...We must integrate women’s health issues into existing national programs based on gender, human rights and equity.”
The WHO regional director for Africa went on to say, "Women’s role in society goes far beyond childbearing and includes other dimensions. The Liberian society demonstrates the multiple role women can play from the household level to leading the entire nation. Women need to be in good health and be given the opportunity for them to unleash their potential for social and economic prosperity."
Amen to that. Have you seen "Pray the Devil Back to Hell"?
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Liberia, Ellen Loj said she looks forward to the Commission realizing its full potential and that through its work, good health and equitable health care will become a reality for women throughout Africa.
She expressed her hope that the Commission will address the “global shame” resulting from the deplorable conditions of women’s health and well-being.
Wanna see some SERIOUSLY powerful, amazing women working for peace in their communities and country? Watch the film "Pray the Devil Back to Hell."
Organized by a local social worker, Leymah Gbowee, the movement started with praying and singing in a fish market. Armed only with white T-shirts that symbolized peace, and the courage of their convictions, 3,000 Muslim and Christian women joined forces in peaceful protest and demanded a resolution to the country’s civil war, rape, their children being kidnapped and made into soldiers...
And they did it.
The women were able to achieve peace in Liberia after a 14-year civil war and helped bring to power the country's first female head of state.
...talk about inspiring.
"To send out a signal to the world that we the Liberian women, we are tired of the killing of our people. We can do it again if we want to."
"If I should get killed, just remember me that I was fighting for peace."
Here's an awesome feature on Leymah Gbowee on the Bill Moyers Journal.