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Keynote Speaker: Soo Downe
Facilitator: Catherine Salam
The growing emphasis on professionalism in midwifery and in other health and social care groups runs the risk of obscuring the critical role of vocation in these occupations. As ‘professionalism’ becomes increasingly identified with power and elitism, and with managerial control and standardization, the question of personalized, equitable, humane health care is becoming increasingly acute. This is a critical area of investigation in midwifery, for all women and childbearing people, and especially for those who are currently most marginalized. This presentation will explore some of the issues arising from the apparent conflicts between ‘professional’ and ‘vocational’ approaches to midwifery and to maternity care, in the light of some of the current issues midwives encounter, from maternal mortality to informed choice. The intention is to raise some questions for debate, and to propose that a synergy of vocational and professional ways of being might help us to create a ‘future perfect’ form of equitable maternity care.
Adapted from an earlier presentation to the RCM Research Conference 2021
Keynote Speaker: Hannah Dahlen
Facilitator: Karen Wilmot
Midwifery, childbearing women and feminism are a historical triparted. We have come so far, but not far enough. We have fought so hard but have we been as strategic as we could be? Do we see the threats today clearly? Can we be braver. louder, smarter, stronger? Do we really believe in what we do? How do we reclaim the passion and re-find our hope?
Para acceder a “Equidad de nacimiento para todos” … Ha llegado el momento de fomentar un movimiento de partería con voces de mujeres en el centro. Presentation will be in Spanish with English slides. English translation will be available for key points.
Keynote Speaker: Kaveri Mayra
Obstetric violence has engulfed the world, making it an epidemic that goes unnoticed while being in front of our eyes, with birth being a part of all our lives. I was horrified when I noticed it first as an adolescent midwifery and nursing student over 15 years ago in my home state, and then around the country in India. My readings led to the realization that the problem isn’t Indian, or Asian, women were being violated and are birthing in dehumanized conditions globally, including the developed countries with well funded health systems. My research, spanning over a decade, inherently focused on bringing out these stories of birth in all it’s reality, embracing its joy, fear, shame, stigma and all its sensitivities. Visual arts based research gave me the tools to cross the barriers of power, language and cultural norms based inequities, to explore and understand women’s stories of birth involving trauma and violence. After studying through various traditional forms of data collection and analysis in research, birth mapping (an adaptation of body mapping) was born, as a revelation that presented the embodied birthing experiences in their holistic form. My work brings forth midwives and nurses perspectives and experiences, as key stakeholders in caring for women during childbirth and a crucial missing voice in finding ways to ensure respectful care. My research is embedded in critical feminist theory and uses an intersectional inequities lens to acknowledge women and birthing people’s unique experiences and how it is impacted by their positionality across the intersections. This is essential to address from the gentlest to the most traumatic forms of obstetric violence and to ensure equity in birth.