“Safe Motherhood”

Irony of “Safe motherhood” in India –

In all societies the family is the central nucleus for people, for their lives, their dreams & their health. A woman in role as mother forms the backbone of the family. Yet 500,000 women continue to die every year in the world from pregnancy & related causes, because societies decide not to invest on women’s lives. Women’s unpaid work in the family & reproduction does not feature in national accounting. The developing country like India, with maternal mortality of nearly 100,000, continue to invest in war (read defense), than on women’ health. This is perhaps glaring example of gender discrimination & worst health scandal of the century.

“A day in the life of an ordinary Indian Village:

A woman’s day

Rises first/ kindles the fire/ breast-feeds the baby/ fixes breakfast & dresses the children

Walks 1km to fetch water

Walks 1km back home

Give livestock feed & water/ washes cooking utensils/ washes clothes

Breast-feeds the baby

Sweeps the house & compound

Ponds the rice

Prepare the meal

Breast-feed the baby

Walks 1km to the field with food for husband

Eats with husband

Weeds the field

Breast-feed the baby

Gather firewood on the way home 1km walk

Kindles the fire/ pound maize or rice

Prepare meals/eats

Breast feed the baby

Put the house in order

Goes to bed rest

A man’s day 

Rises when breakfast is ready & eats


Walks 1km to work in the field


Works in the field








Eats when wife arrives with food

Rests/ while wife weeds

Works in the field

Walks to village to visit other men & drinks


Walks home & eats

Goes to bed

The woman’s day does not change if she is pregnant. On one of these days she will give birth to another child. There is little spare time to visit a medical center; hospitalization in case of emergency is unthinkable, except as a last resort.

A woman’ day or a man’s day? Unfortunately the woman doesn’t have a choice…