Hundreds of thousands of women die every year in childbirth or from pregnancy-related causes. Virtually all of these maternal deaths occur in poor countries. In order to reduce maternal deaths and improve the overall life chances of poor mothers, policy and programs must address poverty and gender inequality, two inter-related, root causes of maternal death.
This paper, prepared for Women Deliver 2010, examines the ways in which poverty and gender inequality impact maternal mortality by creating barriers to maternal healthcare access and utilization. It also analyzes strategies designed to increase utilization to identify best practices.