Save the Children do an annual survey of how good it is to be a mother, where.
Norway is the winner this year, with Australia second.
I was curious to see how they figure this and when I looked at the report, I see the following extraordinary figure. In Australia the average woman stays in school for over twenty years, thus comparing, as you could imagine, most favourably with elsewhere. This was patently ridiculous. It would mean either the average Australian woman was educated to the level of PhD while taking their time about it or they they all failed every year of school once. Upon looking more closely at the figures, Australia by their measurements doesn't rate much more than other countries, so the figure for Australia is clearly no accident. I wrote and enquired as to what this figure was supposed to be - or mean - but I did not receive a reply.
Still, this statistic about the US does not surprise me. It came in at 31st place. That’s the world’s greatest superpower, ladies and gentlemen, just in case you are wondering. Why not better? The survey says
One of the key indicators used to calculate wellbeing
for mothers is lifetime risk of maternal
mortality. The United States’ rate for maternal
mortality is 1 in 2,100 – the highest of any industrialized
nation. In fact, only three Tier I developed
countries – Albania, the Russian Federation and
Moldova – performed worse than the United States
on this indicator. A woman in the U.S. is more than
7 times as likely as a woman in Italy or Ireland to
die from pregnancy-related causes and her risk of
maternal death is 15-fold that of a woman in Greece.
Why Norway first?
Norway generally performed as well as or better than
other countries in the rankings on all indicators. It has
the highest ratio of female-to-male earned income, the
highest contraceptive prevalence rate, one of the lowest
under-5 mortality rates and one of the most generous
maternity leave policies in the developed world.
And last of the 164 countries examined was – heart-breakingly – Afghanistan:
Afghanistan has the highest lifetime risk of maternal
mortality and the lowest female life expectancy in the
world. It also places second to last on skilled attendance
at birth, under-5 mortality and gender disparity in
primary education. Performance on most other indicators
also places Afghanistan among the lowest-ranking
countries in the world.
Worthy of note in the case of the US is that they are only on an average 31st. When the UN did a study of longevity some years ago, the top 10% or so of Americans did best in the world, but an incredibly large number of Americans were as badly off as if they lived amongst the world’s worst off countries.
I keep wondering what the correlation is between these things, the US as super-power and the US as country with such alarming disparity between its citizens and US as democracy.
The complete report can be found here: http://www.savethechildren.org/atf/cf/%7B9def2ebe-10ae-432c-9bd0-df91d2eba74a%7D/SOWM2011_FULL_REPORT.PDF