KATHMANDU: I don’t think it is fair that a woman should die giving birth,” said Geri Halliwell, former Spice Girl, talking about the reasons why she chose to be a Goodwill Ambassador of UNFPA, to highlight issues like uterine prolapse and maternal deaths. “When a mother has to walk 60 miles just to get maternal care, my heart goes out to them,” she added.
Speaking at press meet organised by UNFPA on September 8 at Dwarika’s Hotel, Halliwell said she was impressed with the women she had met at Lumbini. “Some of the women were really inspirational and amazing, the way they are helping each other and the community. They seem so self-sufficient and the way they have brought traditional ways into the 21st century is brilliant. But there is still a long way to go,” she said.
Another aspect that touched her was that though some of them had gone through terrible experiences they were gracious enough and had the courage to share their stories with her.
“Sometimes you choose things and sometimes things choose you,” she said in reply as to why she chose to be a goodwill ambassador for UNFPA. When she was given this offer, being someone who believes in empowering women she readily agreed. “I think when you empower women, everyone benefits — from the village to the entire nation,” she said. After becoming a mother herself she said she had become more sympathetic to this cause.
As for her role, she feels that being a known face, people will heed what she has to say, “The most powerful thing I can give you is camera spotlight for these causes,” she said.
Halliwell feels that such issues have not been brought to the forefront as it is embarrassing and no one wants to talk about such things, however she thinks that if a woman is brave enough to speak out about it and if a politician gives his/her support saying that ‘its not okay’, then steps will be taken that will liberate 10 others from this misery.
Besides that it is the youth and media that she feels are really powerful in creating awareness and to help spread the message.
As for Nepal she feels there is a lot of hope as this is a nation that stands together and speaks against something they are not satisfied with, however she added, “Though there is so much political instability in the country, basic things like education and health should not be sidelined.”
And it’s the men in this country who have a lot of power, who would benefit if they empowered women and not become frightened by it.
Also present at the function was Ian McFarlane, UNFPA representative, Country Office, Nepal.
Halliwell will also be visiting Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to launch a campaign to stop violence against women.