Portrait of a (working) mother

01.09.18

UN Geneva - MMM is delighted to support a photo exhibition illustrating mothers' challenges and choices (or lack of it) in combining professional work and family.

The Portrait of a (working) mother project

Marina Cavazza, an Italian photographer, and Dr. Eglė Kačkutė, a Lithuanian scholar at Maynooth University in Irland, are both expatriate mothers. In 2013, they started working together on an artistic project around motherhood that would combine photographic portraiture and academic research on motherhood and gender equality. They involved 27 families in the project asking each mother to visualize her situation in that specific moment in life, and to provide an individual narrative about her private and professional lives.

Marina Cavaza (right) and Eglé Kačkutė

The photo exhibition resulting from this project puts a cultural and artistic focus on the experience of highly educated professional migrant mothers and their families who live and mother in Geneva. Each of the 27 panels combines an artistic-quality photographic portrait and a short text based on interviews. This interdisciplinary work thus explores issues of visual and narrative representations of motherhood, maternal identity, gender equality in the globalized world, and career and family life balance in the context of expatriation.

“Balancing work and family life is one of the fundamental conditions for achieving economic security and stability, career advancement and high-quality contemporary life for both men and women”.
Professor Dalia Leinartė, Lithuanian gender equality expert, Women’s Rights Defender, Chair of the CEDAW Committee, in the foreword to the forthcoming book Portrait of a (Working) Mother

The Portrait of a (working) mother exhibition is shown in the Palais des Nations in Geneva, on the margin of the 39th session of the Human Rights Council from 10 to 21 September 2018.

Photos of the exhibition (on Marina Cavazza’s website)

  Flyer of the opening event on 10 September at the Palais des Nations

Reconciling work and family: what some of these (working) mothers say

The issue of reconciling professional work with the unpaid work of caring for children and family is at the heart of MMM’s advocacy work in relation to mothers’ economic empowerment.

The stereotype of an expatriate family has it that fathers are out working and mothers happily stay at home looking after the children. But the exhibition brings to light a different image of expatriate women who often have a career and/or a professional identity to balance with motherhood. Far from their families, and the social and cultural networks of their country of origin, these women also face additional challenges compared to their settled compatriots.

The narratives in the exhibition nevertheless echo the concerns of the mothers interviewed in MMM’s 2011 Survey What matters to mothers in Europe:

  • Parenting is a relationship. People should be able to have their lives and be in relationships at the same time.” Eglé
  • I thought I was going to be a super-woman, I had seen movies about highly professional women wearing high-heels and a suit and juggling work and the children.” Satu
  • If I were asked, I would say that my children and my family are my priorities in life, but I would probably be deceiving myself a little.” Sita
  • A family is a living organism and we’re all learning how to find a new balance each day where roles can and must shift.” Laura
  • The ideal would be to reimagine parenthood and to involve men more.” Rabiaa

We fully agree on that last recommendation!

 

 

Most read articles

#RaiseAPen Campaign kicks off

12.11.20

Make Mothers Matter (MMM), backed by key global personalities and organisations, is kicking off the #RaiseAPen campaign with a strong mobilisation video, answering the call of mothers in Afghanistan f

Lire plus

Unpaid care is work

08.03.20

International Women's Day - 'Time to Care’, the Oxfam report released earlier this year, put the spotlight on the link between global inequalities and an issue at the core of

Lire plus

Care and Education – Cornerstones of sustainable and just economies

04.07.20

UN New York, HLPF - Invitation to a virtual side-event to the 2020 High-Level Political Forum on 16 July

Lire plus
See all the articlesof the category

Latest News from MMM @ the UN

MMM joins the call for the recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment

05.03.21

UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - MMM oral statement also drew attention to the specific vulnerabilities of women and children to water scarcity and water pollution, the focus of the latest report of the UN Spe

Read more

Child poverty alleviation cannot be disassociated from support to parents

01.03.21

UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - Make Mothers Matter took advantage of the meeting on poverty alleviation and human rights to raise the issue of child poverty for the attention of the Council.

Read more

MMM spotlights parenting and motherhood challenges in the digital era

19.02.21

UN New York, CSocD59 – MMM's oral statement at the general debate closed our series of contributions to the 59th UN Commission on Social Development

Read more

Harnessing digital technologies for family wellbeing: our collective responsibility

14.02.21

UN New York, CSocD59 - A look back at our virtual side-event that took place on February 12th to coincide with the 59th UN Commission on Social Development

Read more

Harnessing digital technologies for maternal health and parenting – A real bonus for family wellbeing?

31.01.21

UN New York, CSocD59 - On 12 February, join MMM’s virtual side-event during the 59th UN Commission on Social Development.

Read more

Building back better by transforming our economic system to prioritize wellbeing – with care and education at its heart

21.01.21

UN Geneva, HRC intersessional meeting - Read below MMM's contribution to the discussion on “Building Back Better: Integrating Human Rights in Sustainable and Resilient Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic’

Read more