Often women’s caregiving skills are dismissed as essential traits that do not need to be compensated. While mothers are often the caregivers of others, who cares about mothers and the work that they do? Do people (including ourselves as mothers), communities, businesses, governments, and other entities empower, or fail to empower, mothers? What are the harms of essentialism in this framework? Are there any benefits? How does feminism shape the ways that we talk about motherhood? What might the impact of change look like and how might this be important? Who would be affected? How do race, class, gender, sexuality, single motherhood, religious beliefs, citizenship, and ableism (among other factors and markers) shape this analysis?
Moreover, as more women have entered paid work and as Baby Boomers require more care, outsourced care and paid carework have become integral in many families. How does outsourced care and paid carework alter the ways that we think about caregiving? How might trickle-down feminism come into play when women outsource childcare and what might the alternatives be? In what ways might capitalism and the changes therein (e.g., austerity measures, proposals for a universal income, the gig economy, national childcare, etc.) help or hinder women individually or as a group?
This interdisciplinary conference asserts that we need to interrogate our ideologies, cultural practices, work habits, government policies, and family dynamics in order to move toward a better and more just world.
IAMAS (International Association of Maternal Action and Scholarship) welcomes proposals for its 2020 conference, which offers academics of all fields, writers, mothers, artists, health professionals, political activists, lawyers, and more a venue to explore the critical issue of supporting mothers and carework.