We have a daughter! It’s a surreal thing to say. We are blissfully happy to share that after weeks of on-and-off contractions and gestation in three countries, our beautiful baby girl, Madeline, was born at 1 am yesterday in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, weighing in at a healthy 7 pounds. Madeline is a lively little newborn, and both she and Rebecca are doing well. It’s hard to put words to the feeling of being parents for just a few short hours; joy, relief, shock and happiness. We have been finding ourselves bursting into giddy (exhausted) laughter quite a bit since little Madeline arrived. We will be taking the next month off from work to get to know our new daughter, and look forward to introducing her to her family (even if virtually in many cases), with her first introduction to both sets of grandparents when they arrive in Haiti in just a few weeks!
The announcement that we were having a girl is some vindication for me. From the moment we found out Rebecca was pregnant, I just knew that we were having a girl. Somehow the belief (now confirmed) that I would soon have a daughter has made me think differently about many stats that I was familiar with before, but had not felt so personally until I held little Madeline in my arms. Here are some realities that I am pondering anew as a father.
- Globally, women occupy only 22% of parliamentary seats. Haiti's newly elected parliament has none...and the US lags behind the world average at 19%.
- Women earn 24% less than men employed in the same types of positions.
- Women are underrepresented in higher level jobs...making up only 33% of all managerial/supervisory positions, 24% of senior management, and a shocking 5% of top CEO positions. These numbers have barely changed in the last decade.
- Women are underrepresented in high level academia and research...making up only 30% of researchers in natural sciences, engineering, technology, medical and health sciences, agricultural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.
- 128 countries still have gender-specific laws restricting women’s economic opportunities and rights.
- 800 women die every day of preventable causes during childbirth and pregnancy.
- In rich countries, 75% of women report experiencing sexual harassment on the job.
- Globally, 1 in 3 women report experiencing physical or sexual violence in their lives, largely at the hands of an intimate partner or family member. 1/3 of countries have not outlawed domestic violence.
Madeline is only 1 day old, and I am hopeful that we can do better in her lifetime. Who's with me?!