The Women Missing from the “Women’s Movement”

Each year, on March 8th, organizations from around the world come together to celebrate, acknowledge and address issues affecting women. We hear words like equality, inclusiveness and justice. However, all too often, the word we don’t hear is motherhood. Motherhood sustains humankind and, for the majority of the world’s women, is a biological inevitability. Yet, it is a role too often dismissed and undervalued by today’s women’s movements.

The reason for this is simple. We in the west have reduced motherhood to a choice, and choice shifts the burden of responsibility. Motherhood is no longer viewed as the life-sustaining, biological inevitability it is, but rather a choice a woman made on her own and, as such, she must face the consequences of that “choice” individually. Thus, mothers have been largely omitted from conversations in the public realm about women’s issues. Women have been convinced that continuing a pregnancy is an act of choice, and that they are solely responsible for the outcome of that choice.

As maternal health care providers, we believe it is our responsibility to offer an alternative to a choice-based consumer culture that prizes wealth and power over inherent value and dignity. We acknowledge that people are shaped by their surroundings. Our focus is to surround women and children with an alternative perspective of life based on community, charity and potentiality. Mothers deserve to be in the centre of our discussions and acknowledgements about womanhood, rather than be excluded and silenced by the prevailing pro-choice ideology.

Women comprise 49.6% of the world’s population. The majority will each spend nearly 20 years potentially becoming pregnant, and then the rest of their lives as a mother. We must bring mothers back to the forefront of our conversations about women, because mothers face especially challenging obstacles. For example, being a mother in Canada or the United States is the primary determining factor as to whether or not a woman lives below the poverty line[1]. Also, being pregnant puts women at higher risk for physical violence (homicide is the number one cause of death among pregnant women in the United States)[2]. When a mother chooses to stay home and raise her children, our society punishes her, not only economically, but also socially, stigmatizing and devaluing her role in our community. Worst of all, in countries without proper health care, pregnancy can be a death sentence[3]. 

A mother is deserving of our support and our advocacy. 

MaterCare International wants to revitalize the women’s movement by advocating for the role of mothers in these celebrations, acknowledgements and discussions. Women’s global voice is not a whole without the voices of mothers from around the world.


MaterCare International

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St John’s, NL A1C 2S5



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