Third Annual Breastfeeding and Feminism Symposium

By Christine Cupaiuolo — September 11, 2007

We seem to have covered a lot of breastfeeding news recently, and now here’s info about a cool annual conference that is aiming to “re-position breastfeeding as an issue of women’s reproductive health, rights and justice.”

The Third Annual Breastfeeding and Feminism Symposium, scheduled for Sept. 24-25 at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill, N.C., is sponsored by the Center for Women’s Health & Wellness, UNCG and the Center for Infant & Young Child Feeding & Care, UNC-CH.

Online registration is still available. Here’s the context for the conference:

Advocacy for women’s equality and for breastfeeding behavior has not been adequately supportive of women’s roles and needs as mothers. Many scholars have conceived of breastfeeding as a practice that constrains women from achieving social and economic gains, while breastfeeding programs have not necessarily included the needs of mothers. It has been viewed as a “choice” rather than a rights or health issue. This symposium aims to re-position breastfeeding as an issue of women’s reproductive health, rights and justice.

And the expected outcomes:

This meeting is designed to enhance coalitions between breastfeeding advocates, professionals, and researchers and those concerned with contraception and abortion, worker and maternity rights, adequate health insurance, women’s economic and professional advancement, public health, and health systems and services, and to identify collaborative actions.

The keynote speaker on Monday, Sept. 24 is Barbara Katz Rothman, a professor of sociology at the City University of New York and author of “Laboring On: Birth in Transition in the United States” and “Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption.”

OBOS Executive Director Judy Norsigian is delivering the keynote on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Check out the other speakers, or take a look at the full brochure (PDF). Pretty cool mix of people and perspectives.

4 responses to “Third Annual Breastfeeding and Feminism Symposium”

  1. This sounds really fascinating and necessary. I’m curious what the conference context blurb means when it says that breastfeeding programs haven’t always been aware of mother’s needs…any insight on this?

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