The Need for a Maternal Feminism


I was asked to contribute to Discover Society magazine’s March edition on Feminism, Then and Now. Here is an extract.

“Motherhood has been a minefield for feminism since the inception of the women’s movement. We have fought for reproductive freedom, we have pushed for economic equality, we have called for universal childcare and we have worked towards greater success in the ‘public sphere’.

However, we remain faced with one problem. There remain a sizeable proportion of mothers who actually want to care for their families. Not all mothers want to be liberated from mothering their children. Those who take time out of the workforce are penalised financially; and those who return to employment against their wishes face strain of a double shift.

We refuse to see that what mothers do in reproducing the human race and caring for vulnerable, dependent children is important and necessary work. Indeed, ‘dependence’ has become a dirty word, rather than acknowledged as an intrinsic part of the human condition. Having children is not a lifestyle choice akin to keeping lizards: it is socially imperative to produce and raise the next generation…

… when jobs are being lost to automation; when wealth is accumulating in the 1%; when the workplace increasingly encroaches on family life; and when women remain at higher risk of poverty because they have cared for their families, feminism has to start to ask itself: are we ever going to find creative ways to protect, support and empower women beyond simply pushing for paid employment? We must start to recover some of the intellectual and creative verve of the original women’s movement: we have to return to discussing redistribution of wealth and the fair organisation of labour. The fact is, many mothers remain trapped by the market either as workers or as unwaged carers. We need to find ways to value care, to support carers, and put money into the pockets of those who sustain and nourish the human race. Mothers.”

For the rest of the article, see HERE.


(attribution for photograph) “photo credit: <a href=” …”>We belong together, forever, and ever…</a> via <a href=” “>photopin</a> <a href=” …”>(license)</a>”



One thought on “The Need for a Maternal Feminism

  1. So true. I’m on maternity leave and go back to work in 3 months. Not because I want to, but because I have to. At least for the the next 2.5 years. Mothering is seen as the easy lazy option when really that couldn’t be further from the truth. We need to stop and think about how important it is.

    Liked by 1 person

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