This Machine Highlights How Many Women Die Because They Can’t Give Birth Safely

You have just one minute to claim a card with a woman’s name on it.

1. Humanitarian group Doctors of the World has come up with a powerful way of highlighting the fact 300,000 women die from pregnancy-related complications or unsafe abortions every year.

This deliberately imposing machine produces cards with random women’s names on them every minute and if unclaimed, ruthlessly disposes of them.

2. The machine was created a part of the Names Not Numbers campaign and is currently on display at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict taking place in London this week.


The initiative is asking people to sign a petition calling for the United Nations to agree to measures that guarantee: universal access to modern methods of contraception, quality health services for women and children and the decriminalisation of abortion.

3. The designer Patrick Lindber told BuzzFeed, the brief had been to create “not a nice machine”.

Richard James / BuzzFeed

He said it had first gone on display at an event in Paris two months ago and was due to be shown in Berlin before the UN meeting in September discussing women’s rights.

The cards being produced at the ExCel Centre this week all include a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the back.

4. Lindberg explained after 50 seconds of the card being produced the machine begins to glow red and if it remains unclaimed drops into a bin; an opportunity lost.

Richard James / BuzzFeed

5. The UN special session will mark 20 years since 179 countries signed up to improve women’s reproductive rights.

Richard James / BuzzFeed

The document signed at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 included topics such as acceptable reproductive health services and advice.

6. The Names Not Numbers campaign claims 222 million women in developing countries still have no access to safe and effective contraception.

Doctors of the World / Via youtube.com

It also says 40% of pregnancies worldwide are unplanned.

Unsafe abortions apparently account for 50% of all abortions worldwide and cause the death of 50,000 women every year.

7. Those who sign the petition online in the UK will see their message sent to International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict is taking place from Tuesday to Friday at the ExCel Centre, with Fringe events open to the public until 12 June.

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