For more than 60 days, from International Women’s Day to Mother’s Day, we have been celebrating and sharing messages inspired by motherhood. The Global Mom Relay has brought together the famous and the unknown. It’s brought together men and women and girls. It’s brought together experts and advocates. And in the process it’s sparked almost 100,000 social media actions and unlocked nearly $500,000 in donations for health and education solutions for children and women around the world.
Last Wednesday, the Mom+Social summit took that inspiration and outlined strategies and solutions to try to answer this question: What is the one thing we must do as a global community to better support mothers around the world? Nearly 300 attendees and thousands watching online joined the panelists—who included Jennifer and Lynda Lopez, Nigel Barker, Brandy, Bobbie Thomas, and Christy Turlington Burns, plus global health experts and mothers and fathers—to add their wisdom.
It’s a question we must keep on asking, as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon drives the goals behind his Every Woman Every Child initiative. A snapshot of our collective thoughts from the Mom+Social event was presented to Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, wife of the Secretary-General.
So what do mothers want for all the mothers of the world? We want no more children to die of vaccine preventable causes. We want all mothers to have access to trained medical professionals when they are pregnant. We want them to have clean spaces with basic equipment and medical care when they deliver their babies. We want them to be given everything they need to take care of their newborns in those critical first days of life.
We want the world’s daughters to be supported in education, to be free from child marriage, to be physically safe. We want the mothers of the world to have safer, healthier ways to cook. We want them to have clean air to breathe and good nutrition so they can stay strong and keep their families strong. We want their voices in the world’s peace processes—they see things others at the negotiating table don’t see.
We want the word “mother” (a word we love and embrace, but sadly also find ourselves cringing when it is used to diminish and ignore), to mean more than a pat on the head and an annual holiday.
The mothers of the world don’t want to be held up on pedestals – they want to be standing side by side with fathers and non-parents everywhere. They want the same shot at dignity, safety and raising healthy families no matter where they are born.
We believe mothers are powerful. We believe that when we unite on a core vision, we cannot be stopped or silenced. As the world approaches the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals we are counting on that. Happy Mother’s Day.
Watch the recorded event here. Each panel discussion is listed separately.
Gratitude to the Global Mom Relay Partners: the United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Huffington Post, BabyCenter and joined by the 92nd Street Y for Mom+Social Summit, for allowing me to be part of this extraordinary initiative.