Right now I'm in Toronto at the Motherhood Activism, Advocacy, Agency Conference organized by the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement. According to the conference description, this conference:
...will examine the subject of maternal empowerment from the perspective of both scholarship and activism, drawing from and building upon Motherhood Studies research and the activism of the 21st century Motherhood Movement. It will bring together scholars who research maternal activism as well as activists who work with and on behalf of mothers. Grounded in a long history in which women activists, writers, and feminists focused much effort on strengthening the social, personal, and political power of mothers, this conference will examine deployments of women's power as mothers - and mothers' power as women - that afford women greater authority, resources, and status so that they may adequately care for their children while living full and purposeful lives. This conference brings together the fields of economics, health, law, sociology, political science, humanities and women's studies to examine how to empower mothers from a variety of perspectives and in a multitude of contests including community activism and engagement, politics, law, public policy, the economy, education, mental and physical health, the family, maternal practice, discourse, ideology and cultural expression. The conference will pay particular attention to the ways in which issues of race, class, nationality, sexuality, age, ability, religion and ethnicity affect (positively or negatively) the ability of mothers to advocate for and achieve authority, agency, respect and empowerment.
The conference has been fascinating and exhausting so far (from first thing this morning until 9:45pm tonight) and continues for another two days. I'm sure it will provide me with plenty of food for thought as well as theoretical and practical background for my future posts here.