Friday is International Women’s Day and hundreds of Stockholmers will take to the streets to join Barnvagnsmarschen against maternal mortality. Whether you want to join or just wonder what’s up with all the matching strollers – YLC has the lowdown.
Barnvagnsmarschen (or the Stroller Demo) is organized by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (Riksförbundet för Sexuell Upplysning – RFSU) and aims to highlight maternal mortality in developing countries and to put pressure on Swedish politicians to do something to help.
According to the RFSU, some 800 women and girls die every day due to lack of contraceptives, safe abortions and pre-natal care. 99 percent of those afflicted are residents in developing countries. By providing the money and the resources needed for these women to decide over their own bodies – and avoid death by pregnancy complications or unsafe terminations – the organizers want the Swedish government to lead the way.
By joining the march, demonstrators can show their support for RFSU’s demands that the Swedish government set aside some foreign aid funds for contraceptives, sexual education and safe abortions.
In 2012, 600 people took part in the march in the capital, with smaller demonstrations taking place in other towns across the country. Marches are planned in many Swedish towns this Friday – for more information about these, click here.
This year the television presenter and food writer Lotta Lundgren has teamed up with Swedish stone-oven bakery Fabrique to create a biscuit for the event, aptly named Moderkakan, which literally means Mother-cookie or mother-cake and is – believe it or not – Swedish for placenta. However, we are assured no body parts are used in the preparation of the cookie – in fact the recipe (in Swedish) can be found here.
This year’s march will commence at 11.30 from Norrmalmstorg in central Stockholm and demonstrators will then march to Mynttorget to hand over a list of demands to the minister for foreign aid, Gunilla Carlsson.
Every year, participants receive a custom-designed rain cover for the pram, this year in black and white and designed by illustrator Liv Strömquist. In 2012, the cover was designed by Swedish fashion brand Minimarket, in 2011 by the author and illustrator Stina Wirsén and in 2010 by Liselotte Watkins. Last year, foreign minister Carl Bildt received the list of demands, sporting a tie in the same print as the rain-cover.
All you need to do to get one of the covers is to join the demo – but if you are – make sure to be there in good time as the organizers warn that they are likely to run out. All those who turn up will also be treated to hot coffee and (mother) cookies.
For more information about last year’s march or to see a film from the event click here.
Article: Rebecca Martin
Photos: Carolina Hemlin/RFSU