What Women Want: Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Demands, led by White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) in collaboration with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), is a key companion to the What Women Want campaign.

The request for more midwives and nurses was one of the highest requests from the What Women Want campaign. Now, to fully realize the demand for midwives, we need to understand better from midwives themselves what they want and need.

Over 56,000 midwives from around the world have raised their voices and shared their demands.

Explore Midwives’ Demands

Introducing the What Women Want: Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Demands Dashboard

The 56,000 open-ended responses White Ribbon Alliance received have been categorized, analyzed, and are now available at your fingertips through the What Women Want: Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Demands Interactive Dashboard, a unique tool that connects midwives’ voices with the almost infinite possibilities of digital analysis.

The Dashboard offers an unprecedented level of access to midwives’ demands to allow anyone, anywhere to see exactly what midwives and other women’s health workers want when it comes to their roles, and to meaningfully respond.             

We asked, we listened, and now we’re excited to act – with all of you – in delivering on these demands to make sure that what midwives want,
is what midwives get.

Midwives’ Voices Resource Suite

Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Demands Global Report
Reveals the demands of over 56,000 midwives from 101 countries

Social Media Toolkit
Show your support by sharing Midwives’ Voices messaging online

Interactive Dashboard
Look through all 56,000 responses to see midwives demands – in their own words

Illustrative Asks
Find out what advocates are demanding across nine focus countries

Photo Gallery
See midwives from across the world

What Women Want
Learn more about the global What Women Want campaign

Frequently Asked Questions

Why this campaign?

What Women Want: Demands for Quality Healthcare for Women and Girls is a global advocacy campaign to improve quality maternal and reproductive healthcare for women and girls and strengthen health systems. The request for more midwives and nurses was one of the highest requests from the What Women Want campaign. Now, to fully realize the demand for midwives, we need to understand better from midwives themselves what they want and need.

Who are the survey results intended for?

The results of the What Women Want: Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Demands campaign are intended to inform health policies, programs and practices at the national and community levels and it is our hope that Ministers of Health, Education and Family Welfare, among others, will look closely at what midwives and other women’s health workers have said so that they can build policies that respond to their self-articulated needs. 

How is it different from other surveys?

In the most basic way, this campaign was different in that it posed an open-ended question, allowing for any response. The campaign was also different in that it collected midwives’ aspirations – what midwives want – rather than their complaints. The focus was to give voice to midwives and enable them to speak out about what they need for themselves as midwives.

Across global health and development efforts, there has been a push to get women into health facilities, but if those facilities do not meet the needs of the midwives working there, not only will women not seek them out, but the services will not be effective. This campaign also stood out in its global reach of over 55,000 midwives – the largest ever survey of midwives.

What was the process of collecting responses - was it the same in every country, and how did the process impact answers?

Just like the midwives and women’s health workers who took the survey, the process for collecting responses was unique depending on the country and partner. Many surveys were collected through in-person outreach from mobilizers who were trained on how to approach midwives to ensure that they understood the campaign, its goals and how their responses would be used. A global online survey form allowed midwives from around the world to raise their voices. The What Women Want Chatbot enabled even more demands to be heard. No matter the method, each midwife was given the opportunity to share their wants and needs, in their own words.

What advocacy actions can be taken to support midwives?

Midwives’ voices are already making a difference.

Campaign focal points in Malawi mobilized demands from over 5,000 midwives—nearly every midwife in the country—in five days. Commitments to act on the demands of women, girls, and midwives have been made at the highest levels of leadership, including by the President of Malawi Lazarus Chakwera and Secretary of Health Dr. Charles Mwansambo. More notable, there has been follow through. Not only has Malawi doubled the number of employed midwives, but they have also elevated the status of midwives, with the creation of a Chief Midwifery Officer in Malawi’s central hospitals. District hospitals across the country are beginning to follow suit. In Nigeria, preliminary results propelled the Niger State Ministry of Health to recruit 100 midwives, 100 nurses, and 100 community healthcare workers. They have since committed to placing a midwife in each of the state’s 274 primary healthcare facilities.

In Sindh Province, Pakistan, campaign focal points were able to use real-time results to influence the health departments’ latest maternal and infant nutrition project. As a component of the project, the Sindh Government will pilot a midwife deployment program, placing community midwives in government dispensaries across eight districts, with intention to scale throughout the province.

Campaign focal points in the Midwives’ Voices focus countries have shared Illustrative Asks to support other advocates in their countries and beyond (available to read and share HERE).

There is still more to be done. Together, we can create a better world for midwives and the women and newborns they serve.

Will you honor their voices, their needs, their ideas?
Will you too listen and act before midwives disappear?

What is the What Women Want Chatbot?

The What Women Want Chatbot uses cutting-edge technology to ensure that everyone, everywhere can be heard on the issues that matter most to them. Our artificial intelligence and natural language understanding models can safely, and at scale, gather nuanced views, perspectives, and demands using WhatsApp.

Our open-source platform means that you can customize the tool yourself. Or, White Ribbon Alliance can provide all the support you need. Realtime feedback can be used to shape information, services, policies and so much more. The tool can also be used to create a connected base of informed supporters and fuel collective action through ongoing engagement.

Our interactive dashboard makes this powerful information accessible to a wide variety of changemakers, so that real change can happen in real time.

This tool was made possible through funding from MSD, through MSD for Mothers, the company’s global initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die while giving life. MSD for Mothers is an initiative of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, U.S.A. & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, U.S.A.

How accurate are the Dashboard's categories?

During Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Demands, campaign mobilizers were able to harness the power of digital technology through a newly designed Chatbot, which utilizes WhatsApp and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reduce the time gap between collecting women’s demands and taking advocacy actions. Developed by WRA, in partnership with MSD for Mothers and Prakelt.org, the Chatbot is a next generation, mobile platform designed to make What Women Want-style campaigns easier and faster.

No matter how demands were collected, whether through the Chatbot directly (both remote and in-person) or via online or paper survey, they were uploaded to and analyzed by the Chatbot, with a micro-averaged precision recall score of over 91%. Typically, a 65%-70% predictive accuracy is considered “good” and anything above 80% is “extremely good”.

We are always working to improve the usability and accuracy of the Dashboard and welcome your input and support on any categorization errors.

To submit corrections, please use this FORM.

To see the Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Demands Codebook to better understand what is included in each category, please find it available for download HERE.

Where can I find pictures from the campaign?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and the pictures collected as part of the What Women Want campaign speak volumes. Demand photos are available on the Midwives’ Voices Photo Gallery.

You can hear as well as see campaign participants – speaking in their own words – on the What Women Want playlist on White Ribbon Alliance’s YouTube channel.