Friday, March 23, 2007

Honor Our Bioethics Mothers

The Women's Bioethics Project is holding a special "honor our bioethics mothers" campaign - where would we be without them? We don't want to give away the details just yet (surprise!) but we are soliciting nominations from our bloggers and blog readers. Who are the women you admire for the contributions they have made to the field of bioethics? Please send your nominations (including name of the nominee, why she should be honored, and her contact information) to khinsch (at) womensbioethics.org by April 15th. Winners will be announced and honored in May.

3 comments:

BuddhistValkyrie said...

Huh, that's interesting. On the one hand I think it's a great idea - after all, we talk about the fathers/grandfathers of the field all the time. But for some reason, it doesn't have the same... maternal sound that mother does.

Which is strange - the father of a field makes it sound like a noble, strong thing, but that's not an attribute I'd link with "mother of a field."

I mention this because, of course, a couple of names immediately popped to mind when thinking about women who have had a strong impact in the field (Nelson, Steinbock, Burke, O'Neill, etc), but of the ones that come to mind that I actually know, I fear there'd be more irritation at being labeled mother than anything else (almost derogatory).

Which is interesting in a gendered way - why is the paternalistic oversight that comes with being the father of a field not present with being the mother of a field?

(And yes, I do realize this is one of those questions that might reveal more about me than anything else!)

Emilie Clemmens said...

Which is interesting in a gendered way - why is the paternalistic oversight that comes with being the father of a field not present with being the mother of a field?

This is a good question, BV, and one that fits squarely with the debate raging over the "mom" factor in election politics right now, too.

Personally, I don't see why we, as women, bristle at the notion of "motherhood" and can't accept the concept or at least our general biological capacity as fact, whether or not we choose to give birth to children. It may be generational, as (many in) my mother's generation chose to reject the "traditional" notions of womanhood for a broader view of life. But have we abandoned the capacity to believe that "mother" and "maternal" can have connotations of strength and empowerment? Perhaps we need to reclaim and redefine these words.

And, hey, aren't you a "mommy" to those kitties?

So let's honor the distinguished "Mothers of Bioethics" as those who, indeed, helped "give birth" to the pregnant field of bioethics!

Linda MacDonald Glenn said...

Kelly, it reminds me of what Vernillia Randall spoke about at Albany Law School -- the 'imbedded biases'- biases that, often, we're not even consciously aware of -- good that you are questioning the bias!