Thursday, September 21, 2006

Motherhood Manifesto!

Last night I attended a screening of the film "Motherhood Manifesto" based on the book by Joan Blades and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. It was great- I got to talk with Joan for awhile and she's a dynamic, fun person (as you might imagine the co-founder of to be).

I've been studying/working on/thinking about women's health as a human right for about ten years now, and especially about the concept of Safe Motherhood). This film really hits some of the major issues around parenthood in the United States-- namely, family leave and work issues, TV and corporate conditioning of kids, universal healthcare for children (they say we almost had it-- it passed the House and Senate and was vetoed by Nixon), and childcare costs. Apparently we're joined by Lesotho, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea in failing to provide things like paid family leave and children's health care. It is pathetic how politicians in this country utterly fail to actually *do* anything about their so-called family values.

As Republican pollster Frank Luntz said (I think it was in a Frontline interview that's excerpted in the film), this is an issue that's up for grabs. Either party could adopt the platform of empowering parents and *especially women,* who are often openly discriminated against in the workplace just for having children!

I'm really glad to live in California. We do have some paid family leave, and D's employer provides a generous six-week paid family leave (I believe it's through the state, though some employers apparently call this disability leave).

Today I'm feeling really relaxed about my career. I love that D is so supportive of me, that he really believes in me. I really believe I'll be an asset to whatever organization/company I join. I'm excited to be a mother for now, and then when D and I feel the time is right for the kid, I'll re-join the workforce. I'm not going to fret over what's going to happen in a few years, because I know I can do this. How scary to put it out there, but the truth is people are survivors-- we figure things out. (I'm reading Life of Pi, which certainly inspires thinking about survival.)

OH! Great news!! The panel I worked really hard on for the Commonwealth Club was aired nationally on NPR! It was called "The Health of Africa" and I was really excited by the turnout, and the fact that the moderator (Barbara Rodgers of KPIX News) used the questions I'd written and researched for her. I felt like the panel was really dynamic and was thrilled they chose to air it on KQED. The podcast is available to download here-- it was recorded on August 8, 2006.

Ok- off to make dinner!