Statement by ICN President Annette Kennedy on the occasion of International Day of the Midwife

5 May 2020


On the occasion of International Midwives Day (IDM), it is my great pleasure to send congratulations and thanks on behalf of the International Council of Nurses to all the midwives across the world.

This year, the theme for IDM is “Midwives with women: celebrate, demonstrate, mobilise, unite – our time is NOW!”

COVID-19 has aggravated gender inequality across the globe – as the main child carers, women have been impacted by the closures of schools and day care centres; more likely to be in part-time work, women have been among the first to be laid off; and stay-at-home restrictions have resulted in increased domestic violence. Midwives work every day to empower women and girls and to achieve gender equality. During these unprecedented times, midwives may be the only contact outside the home for many women, acting as counsellors, mediators and even lifelines.

Giving birth during a health crisis can be frightening and potentially dangerous, yet midwives are at the bedside, reassuring, providing care and support, and ensuring both parents and children are protected and safe.

Today, we celebrate the work of midwives and their contribution to improving sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health outcomes. We thank them for their service to women and girls every day, but particularly during these difficult times. And we encourage governments to invest in midwives in recognition of their unique role.

Happy International Midwives Day!