International Women’s Day 2022

Today, we celebrate women’s achievement; celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

We also focus on what is yet to be achieved.

This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias.  Gender bias and other forms of socioeconomic subordination, which are embedded in our society impact negatively on pregnant women, with the transition to mothering being a critical “tipping point” on the road to gender equity.

Too often we do not count or value women’s work.  As a society until we value childbearing, acknowledging that a woman having a baby provides a community good at significant personal cost, nothing will change.

We need feminist research that exposes the ways in which patriarchal, racist and capitalist violence continues to constrain devalue and diminish birthing women and systematically violate the rights of women to humane, respectful safe and satisfying models of maternity care.

We need responsive, sensitive models of maternity care that cater for the individual woman and respect her human rights.  Every woman deserves pregnancy, birth and postnatal care that respects her autonomy and dignity; respectful care that includes:

  • deference to women at each step of the way;
  • unbiased information so as to make an informed decision and give fully informed consent; and
  • support instead of coercion or pressure about their decisions.

As Kate Gilmore points out:

We all come from pregnancy. Not only that, we all had, in one form or another, a woman who went through pregnancy in order for us to be born.   Yet we do not see fit to treat pregnancy and mothering with the respect that it deserves, given how precious indeed it is to each and every one of us.