Before Sarah Blaffer Hrdy came along, maternal nature had been largely defined by highly romanticized Victorian notions, essentially, wishful thinking. Yet, through her research on other primates and cultures, Hrdy learned that polyandrous matings, abortion, infanticide, and abandoning of offspring occur across the natural world. Motherhood comes with a price and when females don’t have the resources or social support they need, they naturally put their own health and the health of the children they already have first. In a crunch they may retrench, or even bail out altogether. Continue reading Sarah Blaffer Hrdy Reassesses “Maternal Instincts”
“All of our efforts are with the goal of making women’s lives visible, because invisibility is the number one form of bias.”
Interview with Molly Murphy MacGregor, Executive Director National Women’s History Project by Angie Klink. This interview first appeared in Ms Magazine on December 27, 2016.
Molly Murphy MacGregor was a 26-year-old, California high school history teacher in 1972 when a male student asked her a question that would change the course of her life: “What is the Women’s Movement?” Continue reading Molly Murphy MacGregor
Sheila Kitzinger was a British natural childbirth advocate who campaigned for women to have more say in their birth choices. She was an anthropologist and author who was referred to as ‘the Birth Mother of the nation’ and the ‘high priestess of natural childbirth.’
Sheila was born in Taunton on 29th March 1929. Her father, Alec, was a tailor, while her mother, Clare, was Sheila’s inspiration – working for a family planning clinic, campaigning for access to birth control and counselling women from the family living room. It was observing her mother fulfil these roles that sowed the seeds of Sheila’s own passion to support expectant and new mothers. She said about her mother, Continue reading Sheila Kitzinger
Wangari (Muta) Maathai was born in 1940 in Kenya. In her Kikuyu culture women were storytellers and all humans had right to shelter and space. Like her grandmother-namesake she was known to be industrious and organized.
By the time she was born the native drink–millet porridge–had been replaced by the tea of the British colonialists. Her father was a mechanic and driver for a British settler and was tall and strong. He didn’t need a jack to change a tire on a car. The family cultivated a small farm a with soil so lush you could “almost feel the life it had.” At the urging of her brother, she was sent to a Catholic school where she was first in her class. She enjoyed her schooling but in retrospect recognized that it served to undermine her own culture. Continue reading Wangari Maathai and Her Canopy of Hope