News > IWD Campaign 2018

8 March 2018

International Women’s Day

“Support our Midwives, Women and Babies”

Women and midwives have come together on International Women’s Day in a series of video clips to highlight the issues facing the midwifery-led maternity system in New Zealand.

The six short video clips encourage New Zealanders to voice their support for the budget bid which would see the midwifery-led maternity service, properly funded and resourced for the first time in more than a decade.

College Chief Executive, Karen Guilliland says the call for the type of ‘one-to-one’ maternity model New Zealand has had for the more than 25 years, originally came from women and once again their voices are being heard.

“Women all over the country are showing their support for midwives. They are telling the government they do not want to lose our world-leading free maternity service and are demanding that it be properly resourced,” she says.

Mrs Guilliland cites the “Dear David” Facebook campaign which has garnered national and international attention, receiving entirely positive messages and now has nearly 7500 likes.

“I think New Zealanders are realising that our maternity service could be lost if the May budget bid is not successful. Almost 100% of women have a midwife alongside them when they are pregnant, finding that midwife is becoming increasingly difficult as more leave the profession, burnt out and unable to make a living,” she says.

Mrs Guilliland says the suggestion that the crisis in New Zealand is reflective of a global shortage of midwives is not correct.

“Yes there is a global shortage but in New Zealand the current problem is directly related to the pay and conditions midwives have had to endure for over a decade (and more intensively in the last few years), despite this having been constantly flagged to the previous government. We are training enough midwives in New Zealand but we just can’t retain them under the conditions,” she says. “Midwives love their job, they want to stay but feel they have been left with no choice but to leave the profession.”

Mrs Guilliland says, “As a women’s workforce, working with women, International Women’s Day is a perfect opportunity to release these wonderful videos to show New Zealand how important midwives are to women, babies and families in Aotearoa.”