In 2020, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) began hosting workshops with its midwives’ associations, funders, partners, other healthcare professions and global campaigning experts to address an issue that has long-since impacted ICM, its members: how do we get people, especially women and other birthing people, to demand midwives as a direct pathway to dramatically improving sexual and reproductive health services and achieving gender equality. The workshops identified the need for a global, decade-long push leading up to the Sustainable Development Goal deadline (2030) that would combat misconceptions of midwifery and rally women and feminist movements behind the life-enhancing potential of this profession.
In 2021, at ICM’s 32nd Virtual Triennial Congress, ICM officially announced the PUSH Campaign and began efforts to mobilize existing stakeholders and garner support from sectors and individuals new to midwifery. A handful of partners that participated in the explorative workshops supported ICM in launching the Campaign and designing and actioning its ambitious objectives. These original partners included Ariadne Labs, Every Mother Counts, Laerdal Global Health and the White Ribbon Alliance. In collaboration with these partners, ICM worked to establish a new governance structure for the Campaign that would ensure cross-sector collaboration and greater inclusivity from voices in every region of the world.
Fast forward to today — PUSH is led by a Steering Committee made up of global activists and leaders with the experience, expertise, and networks to help us achieve our ambitious campaign goals. To assemble this Steering Committee — we consulted our growing community of midwives and grassroots movements to determine the input we would need to deliver a truly inclusive campaign, informed by the diverse perspectives we aim to support and amplify.
The Steering Committee members will be announced in the Spring of 2023 — stay tuned to this space for more information.
In 2023, PUSH formalised its partnership with Midwives’ Voices, Midwives' Demands (MVMD) — a global advocacy movement led by the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) aimed at advancing the priorities of midwives in specific countries and regions. MVMD builds off WRA’s ‘What Women Want’ campaign which mobilised over 1.2 million women and girls across the world to share their demands for their healthcare. A top demand from the women and girls was more and better trained midwives. Thus MVMD was launched to ensure the perspectives and needs of midwives were incorporated in the global effort to realise the demand for more midwives. Since 2021, MVMD, has surveyed more than 57,000 midwives from 101 countries about their top demands for the profession. For midwives, what they want is clear: improved education and training, access to resources, better pay and working conditions, and increased status and autonomy.
The partnership between PUSH and White Ribbon Alliance will focus on mobilising these demands by supporting existing, grassroots initiatives in high- and low-income countries alike to design tailored advocacy campaigns aimed at demonstrating the inextricable link between the midwifery and women and girls’ access to quality sexual and reproductive health services. Together with our growing networks of local partners, we will advocate for policy and societal changes that will ensure midwives are respected, paid equitably, better resourced, and equipped to do their job. We will bring the evidence and public pressure to bear on decision makers as they consider midwifery policy and investments. The voices of midwives and women will be at the forefront of collective advocacy efforts.