The lottery of birth
The lottery of birth

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The lottery of birth

Week 3: Being born


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Figure 1

Children occupy a position at the heart of every society and every nation state is wise to take a close interest in the children being born.

The ideal of a safe birth, set within women’s reproductive health choices is endlessly challenged by political, demographic and economic upheavals. Internally too, families are subject to change driven by new ideas, values and beliefs.

Global struggles to combine economic efficiency, social justice and personal liberty, are dogged by the deeply rooted, perennial issues of unequal access to resources (rich countries versus poor countries) and unequal distribution of power and influence. As you have seen in this course so far, the survival, health and well-being of all childbearing women and their babies still varies hugely.

But there remains a common compulsion to try to protect the youngest and most vulnerable from conflict, poverty, neglect and disease and give as many children as possible, a fair chance in life. As we have been discussing throughout this course, this involves working at the macro level, specifically addressing global and national patterns of income, health and wealth and at the micro level, in day to day decisions made by individuals, their families and communities.

This week you will again be looking at the macro and the micro levels as you look at being born. To begin this week you will look at the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that were referred to earlier in the course, particularly looking at the MDGs focused on improving gender inequalities. You’ll go on to focus on the challenges, choices and chances for girls and women, looking at some important ways in which their lives have changed. Then you will get right up to date with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which are emerging this year.


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