I have received a notice about an upcoming conference by MIRCI in Toronto on Motherhood Activism, Advocacy, Agency. I receive these kinds of notices quite frequently. The reason I want to share this one is because I was struck by the range of titles the speakers at the conference have written. And by the kind of work women are doing - advocacy work that is important. I'm finding it reassuring and inspiring that women are doing this work. So here is the list of Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Cindy Sheehan, Peace and Social Justice Advocate
Gayle Brandeis, National Staff, CODEPINK: Women for Peace
Tara Brettholtz, President, Mothers and More
Deborah Byrd, Lafayette College, co-editor of Teaching Against the Isms
Cheli English-Figaro, President Emerita of Mocha Moms, Inc.
Rachel Epstein, Coordinator, Sherbourne Health Centre's LGBTQ Parenting Network
Robbie Davis-Floyd, University of Texas, Austin, author of Birth as an American Rite of Passage
Ariel Gore, founding editor of Hip Mama
Fiona J. Green, University of Winnipeg, author of Feminist Mothering in Theory and Practice, 1985-1995
Diana Gustafson, Memorial University, author of Unbecoming Mothers
Pat Gowens, founder of Welfare Warriors, editor of Mother Warriors Voice.
Erika Horwitz, author of Mothers' Resistance to the Western Dominant Discourse on Mothering
Amber Kinser, East Tennessee State University, author of Motherhood and Feminism
Jeanette Corbiere Lavell, President, Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC)
D. Memee Lavell-Harvard, President, Ontario Native Women's Association (ONWA)
D. Lynn O'Brien Hallstein, Boston University, author of White Feminists and Contemporary Maternity
Andrea O'Reilly, York University, Founder/Director, MIRCI
Karen Shain, Policy Director, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Wow. So, on International Women's Day, I want to say thankyou to all the women who are doing this kind of work.
And to all the people who work in agencies that provide microloans, train community health workers, dig wells, distribute mosquito nets and other work in developing countries - thankyou.
I'll end with some quotes distributed by MIRCI on International Women's Day.
"[Mama]...maintained traditional family values and still worked toward change. I have come to realize that I can be a mother, educator, wife, feminist - each identity not exclusive of the other but impacting on each other and on my development as a woman."
- Karen Diaz, Author
"Empower women and you will see a decrease in poverty, illiteracy, disease and violence."
- Michaelle Jean, Journalist; Stateswoman
"Feminism's agenda is basic: It asks that women not be forced to 'choose' between public justice and private happiness."
- Susan Faludi, Journalist; Author
"A free race cannot be born of slave mothers."
- Margaret Sanger, Nurse; Activist
For facts and figures about gender inequality, click here: