More

How we can think beyond just our own moms on Mother's Day

On Mother's Day, we tend to focus on the moms we know. But Mother's Day is also an occasion to honor the daily heroism of moms around the world. It's easy to assume the important decisions about the world's future are made in boardrooms or the halls of government. But the truth is that millions of women are changing the world in quiet ways by working tirelessly to improve life for themselves and their families.

How we can think beyond just our own moms on Mother's Day

This Mother's Day, let's support all moms by helping to ensure these things:

1. Women and girls have decision-making authority.

Chandrika Devi cradles her 15-day-old child in her home in Samda village, Saharsa district, Bihar, India. Photo by Prashant Panjiar/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Women must have an equal voice in determining the future, whether that's for themselves, their families, or their country. That means something as basic as a girl being able to decide to wait until she's an adult to get married. Every year, 15 million girls are married before their 18th birthday. Our daughters and sisters deserve better.

2. Every girl has access to an education.

A new-mother group meets in the Korogocho community. Photo by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation photographer.

One of the great achievements of the past generation is that the number of girls and boys enrolled in primary schools is finally equal. Now we have to make sure that all girls are able to continue their education for as long as they want in order to achieve their goals.

3. Women are free to decide if and when to get pregnant.

A community health worker speaks about contraceptive use during a home visit in Korogocho. Photo by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation photographer.

I will never forget a conversation I had with Maryanne, a mother who lives in a slum outside Nairobi, Kenya. She uses contraceptives, she said, because "I want to bring every good thing to one child before I have another." That desire — to bring every good thing to our children — is universal. All mothers should have the ability to fulfill it.

4. No woman has to choose between her career and her family.

At the Osu Maternity Home in Accra, Ghana, Rebecca Martey breastfeeds her newborn son, Gerald. Photo by Olivier Asselin/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The income mothers earn is often critical to their families' well-being. In recognition of this fact, all but nine countries in the world provide paid leave for new moms. The United States is one of the nine that doesn't. We can do better.

5. Women have access to financial services.

A woman who had just given birth to premature twins at Turay Yaradua maternal and children's hospital in Katsina, Nigeria, looks at the camera. Photo by Pep Bonet/Noor/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In developing nations, women are 20% less likely than men to have a formal bank account, but they invest 90% of their earnings in their family's future. When mothers have power over their finances, everybody wins.

This Mother's Day, I challenge you to help make the world better for moms everywhere.

Melinda French Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, visits Mbagathi Hospital. Photo by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation photographer.

There are hundreds of amazing advocacy organizations around the world. You can find the one that fits with your personal passions, but here's a short list of groups I like to get you started: Population Services International, Tostan, Girls Not Brides, and Heifer International. Happy Mother's Day!

Share these great thoughts to celebrate and support moms the world over this Mother's Day!

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

A young boy tried to grab the Pope's skull cap

A boy of about 10-years-old with a mental disability stole the show at Pope Francis' weekly general audience on Wednesday at the Vatican auditorium. In front of an audience of thousands the boy walked past security and onto the stage while priests delivered prayers and introductory speeches.

The boy, later identified as Paolo, Jr., greeted the pope by shaking his hand and when it was clear that he had no intention of leaving, the pontiff asked Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, the head of protocol, to let the boy borrow his chair.

The boy's activity on the stage was clearly a breach of Vatican protocol but Pope Francis didn't seem to be bothered one bit. He looked at the child with a sense of joy and wasn't even disturbed when he repeatedly motioned that he wanted to remove his skull cap.

Keep Reading Show less