Finland Named as the Best Place for Mothers

June 17, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. maternal [muh-TUR-nl] (adj.) – relating to a mother
Example The child grew up well because of her mother’s maternal love.

2. index [IN-deks] (n.) – a list that follows a specific order
Example The library features an alphabetical index of research papers from the past fifteen years.

3. front-runner [fruhnt RUHN-er] (n.) – a person or a group that leads in a race or a competition
Example Mrs. Cruz and Mrs. Santos were the front-runners that might win the town’s “Mother of the Year” award.

4. breach [breech] (v.) – to break through something
Example Amy was very proud of her son for breaching the top five in the science fair.

5. at a snail’s pace [at uh sneyls peys] (idiom) – extremely slow
Example The construction of the new nursery proceeded at a snail’s pace due to budget problems.


Read the text below.
An international non-government organization advocating for children's rights has named Finland as the best place to be a mother in the yearly State of the World's Mother report.

The report included the 14th Mothers' Index, which ranked 176 countries according to five indicators of a mother's well-being. Among the indicators were maternal health, children's well-being, educational status, economic status, and political status. The index aims to show the connection between the mother and the child's well-being.

Nordic and West European countries were the front-runners in the list. Australia was the only non-European country to breach the top 10.

The U.S. ranked only 30th, scoring low on several indicators despite being a developed nation. With 11,300 newborn deaths per year, the U.S. has the highest mortality rate among developed nations. The high mortality rate has been attributed to the high number of premature babies born.

Also, the U.S. has the highest teenage birth rate among developed countries. The high teenage birth contributes to the country's low rank since teenage mothers tend to have less education, pregnancy care and financial resources than older mothers.

On the other hand, the 10 worst places to be a mother included sub-Saharan African countries, with the Democratic Republic of Congo taking the last place.

Over the past years, newborn and maternal death rates have been decreasing in developing nations. However, progress has been moving at a snail's pace in sub-Saharan Africa, where lack of basic healthcare for women and their children results in a high mortality rate.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, how can a place become suitable for mothers and children?
·         What do you think the government can do to improve the situation of mothers and children in your country? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What traits do you think a woman should have to be ready before having a child? Briefly explain to your tutor.
·         Do you think the citizen’s health affects a country’s success? Why do you say so?


June 17, 2013