Christy Turlington Burns
Founder, Every Mother Counts
Christy Turlington Burns created the documentary film, No Woman, No Cry, to draw attention to the ongoing crisis of inadequate maternal health care around the world.
The film features women in Bangladesh, Tanzania, Guatemala and the United States, and points to simple yet evasive changes in cultural attitudes, access to basic services and support for those who deliver care that could save hundreds of thousands of lives each year.
“The strength that these women possess is not an option, but a means of survival,” says Ms.Turlington Burns. “Far too many women are not yet in a powerful enough position within their societies to claim their basic human reproductive rights to a safe pregnancy.”
Ms. Turlington Burns has worked as a model, writer, entrepreneur, spokesperson, filmmaker and advocate. She has committed to efforts to rebuild post-war El Salvador, her mother’s home country, and led several public health service campaigns. Her personal experience in childbirth moved her to study the inequities in health care – and in women’s social standing – that threaten women’s lives throughout the world. She set her sights on the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal to reduce maternal mortality by 75% by the year 2015, and determined to personally work toward its achievement.
Her organization and outreach campaign, Every Mother Counts, engages mainstream audiences, particularly women and mothers, to give them the tools they need to drive global policy changes that will reduce preventable maternal deaths and create healthy, stable environments for vulnerable mothers and children.
Americans for UNFPA is honored to present this award to Christy Turlington Burns for demonstrating how a powerful and informed stance by one person can promote justice, health and dignity for women on a global scale.