Familia e hijos: Is Biology Destiny?

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Masum Momaya, Curator
Masum Momaya, Curator
Estados Unidos

Is Biology Destiny?

In May, the Women, Power and Politics exhibition explores what our bodies and our ability to have children have to do with politics.

Are you a mother? Has anyone ever told you that you WOULDN'T make a good leader because mothers are too busy, emotional or "soft"?

Or have people said that you WOULD be a good leader because your "natural" mothering skills make you better able to able to organize, multitask or resolve conflict?

Tell us your experiences!

Women first!

More often have been told that women should work but if the family requires her she has to fulfill all the needs and then also work! A woman's identity is established first as a daughter, then a wife and mother if the wife bit is 'messed' up by her then she sees what her stand in society truly is!

sesame seed
sesame seed

Mothers of the Disappeared

Thank you for featuring the struggle of the mothers in Argentina in the exhibit. These are truly courageous, inspiring women!

Similar examples exist around the world: Lebanon, Bosnia (mothers of the disappeared from the enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa), Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Mexico, Chechnya, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines… among others.

In Lebanon for example, a group of mothers have been waging a campaign for over two decades to find their children who disappeared in the 1980’s.

In this case, thousands of young men and women who were imprisoned by the Israelis - with the help of Philangists - disappeared in the 80’s without a trace. Their mothers do not know if they are alive or dead. They continue with their struggle, protests, and campaigns. As far as I know, none of these disappeared women and men in Lebanon have been found. Neither the Lebanese government nor the Israelis have taken responsibility for what happened or have done anything to shed light on what has happened to these disappeared individuals. Yet, their mothers continue - after 20 years - to protest in the streets of Lebanon and in parliament… an example of the strength, and courage of these women when faced with injustice.

In solidarity!

Estados Unidos


I have family, immediate and extended, but cannot bear children. My development has never allowed me to do so. But that does not detract from my femaleness and maternal nurturing, nor from my capacity to develop without limitations, love all aspects of life as a woman, or lead as a woman.

My skills as a productive member of society, medical professional and leader are enhanced by my femaleness and its associated characteristics, without regard to my biologic limitations. And I believe that my capacity to be who I am and what I am would not have been compromised by having full reproductive assets.

I find fault with many men and also women who consider any aspect of womanhood and femaleness, in particular the reproductive capacity, as a limitation to personal, professional, or public aspiration.

Michaele Enghardt


i am a citizen of the world

Women play various roles in the society, some women are wives, some are mothers, sisters, ceo's etc... Our biology does not limit us to what we can or can not be or do... We do that to ourselves, and by we I mean, other women, men and the society in general. I am a woman who is also a citizen of the world, I can and should be able to function in whatever capacity I choose and have the skill to participate in, irrespective of my biological make up.

Kelli Thomas
Estados Unidos

With women's ability to bear children comes the responsibility to raise her children in the best way that she can in the context of her society. That is a LOADED responsibility given the many factors of society. There is debate whether THAT ability is compromised when a women is not at home and is out of the home earning an income. That is another discussion. Equality of woman has given us many important rights and I do believe woman have a right to education and a VOICE. I do, however, feel that with this equality, has come some unintended consequences. I feel that a woman's role at home has become undervalued and women who do choose to stay home are undervalued. They are many times viewed as being unmotivated in a society where a large percentage of women are in the workforce. Whether a female INDIVIDUAL can perform her duties as a mother and politician must be decided by looking at her as an individual and the dynamics of her family, not on her race. If she chooses not to have children then her ability to have children should not make any difference at all.

Kelli Thomas
Estados Unidos

excuse the woman women errors as i was typing rather quickly don't know how to edit my post ?????

Joan Garvan
Joan Garvan

it's not biology its the social structuring of care


The care of infants, children and families has been so closely associated with what it means to be female - it is difficult to stand apart. The work of both Eva Kittay and Martha Fineman has been very useful, I think, in terms of rethinking these questions - rather than individualizing them. You can see a terrfic overview of Fineman's views on the video on youtube - see attached.

Regards, Joan G

Law and Vulnerability - Martha Fineman ()

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