Women's rights highlighted this International Day of the Midwife

Midwives across the country are today celebrating International Day of the Midwife.

This year's theme is 'defenders of women's rights', aiming to highlight the wide and often little-understood role they play in healthcare and the lives of families everywhere.

College of Midwives CEO Alison Eddy says it'll be all-go.

"All around New Zealand there will be midwives having events - for example here in Christchurch there's a quiz night...There are morning teas, picnics, gatherings where midwives and women have the opportunity to get together and acknowledge and celebrate each other, and the work that midwives do."

Eddy says the day is also a reminder of work still to be done around pay and conditions. A Government report last year found a "fair and reasonable remuneration for the work of a community midwife [would] be a total of $241,000" - about three times what they're normally paid.

"Midwives care for women during pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond, upholding their rights to informed choices and support during this crucial time in their lives. Focusing on the rights and wellbeing of women during pregnancy, birth and early parenting supports the best possible outcome for a healthy baby too.

"Midwives understand how a woman’s life circumstances may be affecting her pregnancy. Sadly it is not uncommon for midwives to play a role when they suspect that a woman may be a victim of family violence or abuse.

"So midwives often have a very practical role to play in defending women’s rights but the profession has a wider role too."

Midwives will post messages on Facebook explaining what women's rights means for them.

Pay negotiations with the Government are ongoing.

"We need to recognise the rights of midwives to fair treatment in the workforce so they can continue to defend the rights of women as mothers," said Eddy.