Motherhood Practices of Women Social Activists in Taiwan

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Chia-Ling YANG, Graduate Institute of Gender Equity Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan, Centre for Gender Studies, Lund University, Sweden, Department of Sociology and Work Science, Gothenburg University, Sweden
Studies in social movements in Western countries discuss maternalism as a strategy to mobilize people in social protests or its limits to frame social movements. Moreover, previous research also examines the relationships between women’s gender roles and their participation in social movements. Nevertheless, studies on social movement in Taiwan seldom discuss women’s experiences in social movements, but they do mention maternalism in consumer movements or environment movements.

Following the micro-analysis of personal experiences and discussions of maternalism in social movement studies as well as feminist concern of women’s role in social movement and debates in motherhood, this article intends to discuss motherhood practices of women social activists in Taiwan, as well as the relationships between their mother role and experiences in social movements. Based on in-depth interviews of women’s experiences in social movements in Taiwan, I find that although care work in the private sphere do limit some women’s participation in social movements, these women find strategies in time using or in creation of network support for combination of child care and participation in social movements. This article examines their mother role as ‘motivation’ or ‘justification’ for participating in social movements and argues how their sayings/practices of motherhood reconstruct the boundaries of the private/public and redefine the meanings of politics or social goods in Taiwan society. By so doing, this article intends to employ these women activists’ motherhood practices and experiences in social movements to rethink feminist theories as well as social movement theories on motherhood, maternalism and women’s role in civil society.