By Yasmeen Banu
Singapore has once again clinched the title of being the best place in Asia to be a mother, according to a report by Save The Children.
The international non-governmental organization (NGO) has published its 15th annual State of the World’s Mothers report in commemoration of Mother’s Day.
The NGO has placed Singapore in the first position ahead of its Asian neighbours, and in the 15th position ahead of countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States amongst many others.
This year’s report focuses on “millions of women and children living in fragile communities beset by conflict and natural disasters, and their everyday struggle to survive”.
Singapore has maintained the title for the second year in a row, as the NGO compares 178 countries around the globe to determine the countries that are best for mothers to reside, as the stakes are so much higher and the challenges far more greater for mothers living in war-torn or poverty-stricken areas.
In 2000, Save the Children’s annual Mother’s Index has proven to be a “reliable international tool to show where mothers and children fare best, and where they face the greatest hardships, using the latest data on health, education, economics and female political participation.”
The factors that were being considered when determining the ranks of each country are namely:
- Lifetime risk of maternal death
- Under-5 mortality rate
- Expected number of years of formal schooling
- Gross national income (GNI) per capita
- Participation of women in national government
Statistics by The World Bank showed that from 2009 to 2013, the probability that a child will die before reaching the age of five is 3 out of every thousand in Singapore.
Lifetime risk of maternal death in Singapore for the last five years shows a probability of 1 in every 13,900 females.
It is defined as “the probability that a 15-year-old female will die eventually from a maternal cause assuming that current levels of fertility and mortality (including maternal mortality) do not change in the future, taking into account competing causes of death.
Singapore has every reasons to be ranked high in this category due to its advanced medical facilities that has existed since the 1980s. Even back then, infant mortality has always been low and even better than countries such as the United States.
Similarly, when looking at the factors mentioned above, women in Singapore do not face discrimination neither at work nor when taking leadership roles. In this prospect, there is gender equality in Singapore as compared to other countries. Expected number of years of formal schooling also enables Singaporeans to at least attain the minimum credentials during their academic years.
However, participation in the government for women in Singapore remains low, at a percentage of 25.3%, as compared to Finland, the world’s best place to be a mother, at 42.5%.
All these factors are not to be confused with the cost and maintenance of raising a child, the standard of living and the income inequality.
Statistics aside, Singapore has indeed earned its title to be the best place in Asia to be a mum due to its safety in live births, mortality rate, and gender equality and will hopefully continue embracing the title for the many years ahead, and perhaps go up the ladder.
A very Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers in Singapore, for there is no better place in Asia to be a mum!