BY BAN KI-MOON
MARCH 8 — As a boy growing up in post-war Korea, I remember asking about a tradition I observed: Women going into labour would leave their shoes at the threshold and then look back in fear. “They are wondering if they will ever step into those shoes again,” my mother explained.
More than a half-century later, the memory continues to haunt me. In poor parts of the world today, women still risk death in the process of giving life.
Maternal mortality is one of many preventable perils. All too often, female babies are subjected to genital mutilation. Girls are attacked on their way to school. Women’s bodies are used as battlefields in wars. Widows are shunned and impoverished.
We can only address these problems by empowering women as agents of change. Read more