University of Barcelona: An international conference debates on obstetrical violence

16/05/2018 - 18/05/2018 Universidad de Barcelona
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Address CaixaForum Barcelona
Opening Hours:
Ticket price: 0.00 EUR (Euros)

The III International Conference “Gender, “Ethics and Care” is taking place from May 16 to 18 in CaixaForum Barcelona. This conference is focused on giving visibility to violence against women during pregnancy. Its objective is to give visibility to those situations of gender violence that take place during pregnancy and for midwives and health professionals to work on the detection and monitoring of this problem. To do so, a dialogue is presented among academic professionals on the most proper ways to work on this problem. They also try to go over the concept of “obstetric violence” as well as on those aspects that are related to the respectful and human treatment towards women during birth care.

This meeting is framed within the project “Prevention and Detection of Sexist Violence During Pregnancy: From Patriarchal Violence to Obstetrical Violence”, led by Josefina Goberna, researcher from the Department of Public Health, Mental Health and Perinatal Nursing of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the UB, and is driven by the RecerCaixa program from Obra Social “la Caixa” and the Catalan Public Universities Association (ACUP).

This cross-sectional conference will start with Fina Brulés, lecturer at the Faculty of Philosophy of the UB, who will talk about the conceptualization of violence. The first bloc, on May 16 afternoon, will surround gender violence and detection of cases in healthcare centers. The second bloc will take place on May 17, and will focus on the concept of obstetrical violence from different perspectives: assistance between women and health professionals, legal view and human rights. Last, on Friday, May 18, the conference will cover the ethical and philosophical aspects as well as biopolitics. The conference will be closed by the lecturer of the Faculty of Philology of the UB, Elena Losada, who will talk on gender violence in crime novels.

What is “obstetrical violence”?

The term “obstetrical violence” covers the problem of violence or disrespectful behaviour to women in the healthcare system during birth care. Although the term carries a strong symbolic meaning, its use has been extended by activist and feminist groups and politicians who promote tackling its analysis.

Obstetrical violence can be defined as the appropriation of women’s bodies and reproductive process by the healthcare staff, involving mistreatment, abuse of medicalization and pathologization of natural processes. This causes women to lose their autonomy regarding their ability to choose freely on their bodies and sexuality and it has a negative impact on their life quality.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recounted the topic of abuse against women during pregnancy and birthcare within the framework of their program on human reproduction.

Regarding this topic, the WHO report, provides initiatives to support changes in the behaviour of health professionals, the clinical environment and health systems, and it also asks for support from the governments to promote researches on how to define abuse and lack of respect in public healthcare centers.

Link to the program for the conference:

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