Film Screening and Panel Discussion: “No Woman, No Cry”

February 25, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Meghan Sikkel
msikkel@smu.edu

"No Women, No Cry" directed and produced by Christy Turlington Burns raises awareness about maternal morality

SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program hosted a film screening and panel discussion in McCord Auditorium Thursday night featuring “No Woman, No Cry,” a documentary directed and produced by former model Christy Turlington Burns. The film raises awareness about maternal mortality, an issue found both abroad and in the United States, emphasizing that over half a million pregnant women die giving birth each year.

“No Woman, No Cry” documents the adversity faced by three pregnant women around the world: Janet, a young mother from the Maasai tribe in Tanzania who must walk five miles to the nearest clinic when she experiences complications with her pregnancy; Monica, a woman living in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh who insists on giving birth at home because she is too ashamed of her pregnancy to travel to a hospital and seek professional help; and Linda, an obstetrician in Guatemala who travels around the country educating women about pregnancy and giving post-abortion care.

SMU sophomore Rachel Stonecipher, vice president of Amnesty International and member of the Embrey Human Rights Program’s Student Leadership Initiative, “loved the film.”

“The part that really struck me was the woman in Bangladesh who couldn’t go to the hospital because of social pressures from her family and her community,” she said. “I think that sort of points at larger issues of women’s rights that need to be addressed before we can solve these problems.”

Panelists at the screening included Eric Bing, director of global health for the Bush Institute and Jodi Keyserling, senior policy analyst for CARE. Karen Kelly, CARE action network district chair for TX-12 and CARE field coordinator Suzanne Berman also spoke at the event.

CARE, Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, is a humanitarian organization that fights global poverty in over 70 countries and serves nearly 57 million people.

“CARE works to attack poverty at its roots,” Keyserling said. “We do a lot of that through the empowerment of women and girls.”

The organization helped bring “No Woman, No Cry” to SMU.

“I wanted to see this film come to this area, to this region, because I believe Texans have a huge place in the change we are going to see,” Kelly said. “If you tell a Texan they can’t do something, it’ll happen.”

Speakers at the event discussed solutions to the issue of maternal mortality.

“You can have the best doctor in the world, the best services, the best the world has to offer, but if a woman doesn’t have the knowledge of the services, it’s difficult to really address this issue,” Keyserling said. “We don’t need a breakthrough to save women’s lives…we need financial resources and political will.”

Keyserling urged the audience to take action to help save women’s lives and emphasized the importance of gaining political support through communication with local officials.

“Right now this is a critical moment and a critical time when members of congress need to hear that people care about these issues,” she said. “You are the constituency. One of the top five things you can do is contacting your representatives and letting them know that you really care about these issues.”

Bing stressed the importance of internal change in making a difference in the world.

“I think that we all want the world to change around us and this to happen and that to happen without thinking that we’re going to change,” he said. “But once we change, we really can change the world.”

Panelists encouraged students who are interested in maternal mortality to attend CARE’s National Conference and International Women’s Day Celebration March 8-10 in Washington, D.C. Registration ends Friday, Feb. 25. Visit www.careconference.org for more information.