Women deliver when they are well nourished

A drawing to represent the opening ceremony at the conference.
A drawing created to represent the opening ceremony at the Women Deliver conference.

I’ve just come back from the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. I was there to attend side events on breastfeeding and adolescent girls’ nutrition, but also to talk to people outside of the nutrition community.

I found the conference inspiring and insightful. I met people who make TV programmes as development projects, entrepreneurs who develop technology for remote medical care, and women who deliver babies in some of the toughest places in the world. I heard so many fascinating, moving, and sometimes shocking stories. None more so than the story of women in El Salvador who are put in jail because they have had a miscarriage, because this is seen to break El Salvador’s strict anti-abortion law.

I heard from women with HIV, women who have been the subject of domestic violence and women who have had an abortion. I heard from some very influential women – women who have led countries, organisations and movements.

But very often, I didn’t hear nutrition at the heart of the conversation. I didn’t hear first-hand the story of someone who has experienced malnutrition. Very often I didn’t hear that nutrition is central to women’s health and rights – that without good nutrition, these women would not have the health or physical strength to stand in front of 6,000 women and tell their story.

In many countries, girls and boys do not get the nutrients they need to reach their full potential in life. This is an issue of inequity and injustice. It is an issue that can be overcome. It’s an issue that Save the Children takes action on every day. If we don’t get nutrition right, the next generation won’t be able to deliver.

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