State of the World's Mothers | The Mother Index

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 22:25 PM EDT, 3 May 2011

Today, 03 May 2011, the organization Save the Children released its annual report 'State of the World's Mothers,' also referred to as the Mother's Index, it ranks countries by the care each country provides for its most precious resources - mothers and children.

I was sad to learn that America continues to decline in ranking as it embraces corporatism at the sacrifice of family.  Many mothers, including myself, often find ourselves on the loosing side of the battle to balance work and motherhood.  A battle in which we are required on a daily basis to choose work over our welfare or that of our children.

It is true that many in the world could accuse us of being soft and spoiled and I would have to agree on whole because the quality of life in America far out strips that of most mothers and children in many other countries.  However, this fact does not diminish the struggles that American mothers are increasingly facing, and which is evidenced by America's decreased standing among developed nations.

American mothers must grapple with scenarios such as the need to return to work sooner than we should after hospitalization, illness or other family tragedy in an effort to preserve our jobs.  In these economically challenging times it is more difficult for mothers to make ends meet as rising gas prices contribute to the adverse impact to our budgets as the cost of food and necessities increase.

Coupled with the uncertainty in the job market which is a result of downsizing and rifts; many women are forced to make the difficult choice of staying home to attend to themselves or their sick children or choose to send their children to school because they are unable to afford childcare.

So, it is probably not a surprise to many American women that this country now ranks 31st in its care of women and children out of the 44 developed nations identified in the report.  This is unconscionable for a country that professes to be the leading developed nation with core Democratic values that espouses and promotes equal rights for all men, women and children.

This year the honor of best care for mothers and children goes to Norway.  "Norway is the world’s best place to be a mother, meanwhile, 8 of the world’s 10 worst countries to be a mother are in Sub-Saharan Africa." Eight out of the 10 bottom-ranked countries in the index are in sub-Saharan Africa. From worst to less bad after Afghanistan they are, in order, Niger, Guinea-Bissau, Yemen, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Mali, Sudan and the Central African Republic.(Source: Save the Children)

"Afghanistan has the highest lifetime risk of maternal mortality and the lowest female life expectancy in the world," putting it at the bottom of the the Mothers' Index, which has been compiled for the past 12 years by the nonprofit group Save the Children.

The full 2011 State of the World’s Mothers report, titled “Champions for Children: Why Investing in Maternal and Child Health in Developing Countries is Good for America” can be found at It includes the rankings and essays from former Senators Bill Frist and John Corzine, best-selling authors Rick and Kay Warren, former Xerox Chair Anne Mulcahy and actress Jennifer Garner.

The site will also feature an embeddable documentary from Link TV’s that takes a global tour of what’s working in the fight to improve and save the lives of at-risk mothers and children.  Visit for information about Save the Children’s newborn and child survival campaign.