The Order of Glorious Motherhood, Mongolia

The Order of Glorious Motherhood, Mongolia

is seen as the “patriotic duty” of every Mongolian
woman. Mongolia is the most sparsely populated country in the
world, with less than two inhabitants per square kilometre (in
comparison the UK has 272 per sq. km) and livestock outnumber
people by roughly 20 to one.

People are so scarce that the Mongolian Government has been
paying couples to have children, honouring women with medals if
they have a large family. Four children bring mothers the honour
(and a medal) of “Second Order of Glorious Motherhood”, while six
children is the highest honour – the “First Order of Glorious

In stark contrast to neighbouring China with its one-child
policy, Mongolia is trying to boost numbers with incentives that
were introduced in the 1950s. Fertility rates declined in 1991 when
the Soviet Union collapsed and Mongolian life was turned upside
down. But since then, largely thanks to these rewards, the birth
rate has started to rise.

In this series shot by photographer Kay Lockett, mothers across
Mongolia pose for portraits and share their story of the
responsibilities of what they describe as the most important job in
the world.

According to the National Statistics Office of Mongolia there
are currently (2018) around 3.2million inhabitants – still making
it the emptiest country on the planet.

A mother’s heart is for her children. A child’s heart is for the mountain.

Mongolian proverb

Discover More
Mongolia: A Call Back to the Present