“Motherhood for the Nation: French Family Policy, Gender, and Reproduction in 1940s Morocco”
a talk by Margaret Andersen, Assistant Professor of History, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016
4:30 p.m., Gailor Auditorium
With its generous family benefits and support of motherhood, France today enjoys a reputation for being one of the most family-friendly countries in the world. Government benefits for mothers include medical care during and after pregnancy, including pelvic floor and abdominal “reeducation” sessions; financial benefits, such as the prenatal stipend and a monthly family allowance; and a wide range of subsidized services including free pre-school programs. To encourage women to have larger families, the government’s benefits are especially advantageous for the famille nombreuse (defined as three or more children). With the birth of the third child come much larger family allowances and a range of perks, including free public transportation and admission to museums. The state’s current commitment to supporting families, and mothers specifically, has a long history in France that stretches back to the late 19th century. Heightened fears about the nation’s slow rate of population growth motivated reformers across the political spectrum to push for financial incentives and punitive measures designed to boost the birthrate. This presentation focuses on an important phase in the development of French family policy and ideas of motherhood by looking at its development in Morocco (a French protectorate since 1912).
Co-sponsored by the Lectures Committee, the Department of French and French Studies, the History Department, International and Global Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies.