International Women’s Day 2018: #PressforProgress

This year, we recognize the women around the world who help us press for progress in their communities.

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At Marie Stopes International, we go where no one else will go – to places some think of as unreachable. How do we do it?

On International Women’s Day, we recognize the thousands of women across the globe who make our work happen. Every day, they’re pressing for progress in their communities, so that more women and girls can have children by choice, not chance.

Our new video gives you a peak into their world in Burkina Faso, where Marie Stopes Ladies are making real change. Marie Stopes Ladies are midwives or nurses who receive training from Marie Stopes country programs, and then deliver family planning care directly in their communities. 

The local Marie Stopes Lady could be your sister, aunt or neighbor – someone who knows your community and how to meet the needs of women in that unique place.

One Marie Stopes Lady, Arlette Naba, explains how she does it in Burkina Faso:

"There is a real closeness with the women. We try to get closer to the women who are really in need of family planning."

Because stigma and misconceptions about contraception often prevent women from accessing our services, Marie Stopes Ladies travel wherever they’re needed to deliver services in discrete environments.

They help us reach women and girls who might not otherwise come to a traditional clinic by going to villages, high schools, local health centers and even clients' homes. 

Prepared for a power outage, Marie Stopes Lady Julienne counsels a client with her headlamp at the ready.

Another Marie Stopes Lady in Burkina Faso, Julienne, explains:

“The women I serve are not the kind who worry about what kind of moisturizer to use to get a nice glow. They are submissive women who don’t have the last word in their households.”

Living and working alongside the women in their community, Julienne and Arlette see the suffering that the lack of information and access to family planning cause. They are determined to do what they can to make women’s lives better.

 

“The story that really stays with me is a 13-year-old girl called Doris,” says Julienne. “Her mum was one of my clients and accompanied her to receive a family planning method. Despite being illiterate, she understood the importance of family planning for her daughter. Her one wish was that her daughter’s life would be better than hers.”

As for the year ahead, Arlette says her aim is "to reach as many women as I can who don’t have access to family planning.”

Today and every day, we’re grateful for the extraordinary courage and determination of Marie Stopes Ladies who travel the extra mile – often literally – to reach the women and girls who need us most.

Our Global Impact Last Year

26.9million

women using a MSI
method of contraception

23,900

maternal deaths averted

5.4million

unsafe abortions averted

8.2million

unintended pregnancies
averted