When A Mother's Value Is Based On Her Body

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

What happens when a mother’s identity and value is based on her body alone?

She is seen as valuable only because her body can bear children, cook and clean, and provide intimacy for her spouse.

But what would happen if we associated a mother’s body with power?

When mothers everywhere are seen as strong and powerful, they have authority and influence. They have access to proper maternal healthcare and autonomy over their bodies.

In our latest online media project, Imagining Equality, Global Fund for Women features the creative work of women envisioning just such a world. The project aims to create a global conversation about gender equality as the world approaches the target date for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These goals will help define global development priorities in the decade ahead, especially for women.

As we open the Imagining Equality project, we focus on stories about the Body and the rights women, and especially mothers, who seek to achieve equality.

We asked filmmaker Kelly McIlvenny, to tell us what equality means to artists like her. She shares the story of the Foot Soldiers of Change, women who are using their strength and power to change the face of maternal health in Nepal. As an army of volunteer women who combat their country’s maternal mortality statistics, they are taking maternal health into their own hands.

For me, equality means having the opportunities our mothers and grandmothers only dreamed about at our age. Equality means not only choosing what I do with my body, but also having the right to the kind of healthcare that supports my choices. Equality is valuing mothers not only for the power, beauty and strength of their bodies, but also for their leadership, their ideas and their talents.

As part of this ambitious project, we sought art and ideas from women all over the world. Now, we want to hear from you. Make your badge and share what #EqualityIs to you and women in your community.

Be part of a groundswell of women and men from across the globe who are contributing their hopes and dreams for gender equality as we near the 2015 target date for the UN’s new global goals. They are asking for freedom from violence, for the right to make free and informed decisions about when to bear children, for access to education, affordable contraceptives, and equal pay. They are asking the world to keep mothers and newborns safe with affordable, accessible healthcare.

Join us as we Imagine Equality together. Be inspired by the creativity, vision and passion of women around the world – and add your hopes and dreams for the future. As the author Arundhati Roy wrote, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Global Fund for Women has partnered with Johnson & Johnson for nearly 10 years. Together, we’re working for women’s rights, and helping mothers and infants survive childbirth.

View the Imagining Equality Project. New topic galleries will be added monthly until October. Create your own Equality Is badge, or join the conversation on Twitter using #EqualityIs.

Before You Go