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Womanhood ≠ Motherhood

Michelle Koch

Taking the 2016 study “Regretting Motherhood – A Sociopolitical Analysis” by Israeli sociologist Orna Donath as point of departure, Michelle Koch goes to rural areas of the Swiss cantons of Aargau, Zürich and Bern in search of women who struggle with motherhood in the contexts of freedom of choice and the imperious bourgeois norm.

Together with the “Eidgenössische[n] Kommission dini Mueter”, which advocates better maternity conditions in Switzerland, and sociologist Diana Baumgarten at Basel University’s Centre for Gender Studies, a group of ten women is gathered. They provide insights into their decision against or for motherhood as well as the associated moments of happiness and challenges of being a mother, or not.

Michelle Koch’s book combines academic texts with transcribed interview excerpts, portraits and images of the women who, in audio recordings in the accompanying exhibition, explain the extent to which being a woman is synonymous or not with with being happy and being a mother.

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