May 5th, International Day of the Midwife, is the internationally recognised day highlighting and focusing on the works of midwives and midwifery. It is a day that is recognised and celebrated globally, with more than 50 nations observing the day.

The idea of the International Day of the Midwife as a day to honour and recognize midwives was proposed by the Australian delegation and discussed among international midwifery associations at the 1987 International Congress of Midwives in the Netherlands. The initiative took some time to go through the UN System, but was formally launched in 1992.

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) announced that the theme for International Day of the Midwife (IDM) on 5 May 2019 is: ‘Midwives: Defenders of Women’s Rights. From the ICM website, they have stated:

International Day of the Midwife 2019“We are in a time where women’s and girl’s rights are under fire globally. 2017 saw the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule and 2018 saw several nations implement policies that directly dismantle the human rights and dignity of women and girls. This negative shift in global political tone has undermined the work of many individuals and organisations who have been defending and fighting for gender equality for decades.

But we will not give up. These changes have ignited millions of women, girls, men and boys to stand up and defend the rights of women and girls globally.

More women are standing for political office than any time in history. Africa is leading thebway with Ethiopia recently ushering in the most gender balanced cabinet in the world, and Somalia banning Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Iceland has made the gender pay gap illegal. Latin America is leading globally in local and parliamentary positions held by women and Bangladesh is moving forward in increasing female leadership in management roles, senior officials and legislators.

There is so much to celebrate!”

To find out more about the International Confederation of Midwives please visit their website here. If you’d like to learn more about wound management best practice in midwifery, in particular perineal care and the latest research around FGM, please view our Perineal Care online module here. 

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