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SXSW Moments: Motherhood

The Forrest Four-Cast: May 9, 2019

This Sunday is Mother’s Day across the United States, and children everywhere will send hearts, candy and flowers. But from our maternal mortality rate to reproductive health care to pregnancy discrimination, all is not right in the house of Mom. SXSW 2019 took a look at some of the pressing issues and offered solutions for making this most important role work better for mom, babies and everyone.

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Giving Birth in America
America is facing a maternal health crisis. Our country has the highest healthcare costs, yet our mothers face the highest maternal death rate in the developed world. What are we paying for? Not high-quality care and better outcomes. Christy Turlington Burns, Founder & CEO of Every Mother Counts, will share her own birth story and the complication that followed the birth of her daughter, which led her to start the non-profit. This panel will explore the realities of giving birth in America today and examine the underlying factors that are raising U.S. maternal mortality such as provider shortages, lack of insurance, racial and socioeconomic disparities, chronic conditions, and over-medicalization. It will also cover policy and care solutions to improve birth outcomes for moms and babies.

Hysteria No More: Data, Doctors and Women’s Health
Reproductive healthcare in the U.S. is failing women — and now, they know it. History dismissed women’s health concerns as “hysteria.” Today, women still receive low value pregnancy care, struggle to get clear answers about their fertility, experience bias if they are black or brown, poor, rural, lesbian or transgender, and are cast aside by our healthcare system as new mothers. This panel features three young OB/GYNs who take you under the hood to share why women are turning away from their doctors and towards other kinds of solutions. They expose the gaps in reproductive science and care delivery, and the most promising solutions in social media, telehealth, biometric tracking, and other technologies to ensure women care, validation, and bodily autonomy.

Maternal Mortality in America: What’s Going On?
Is pregnancy a sacred and revered experience in the eyes of society only for privileged, white women? The U.S. has the highest rate of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth in the developed world. Half of these deaths are preventable, victimizing women from a variety of races, backgrounds and income levels. The spotlight on this issue has led groups to start working on solutions at community, healthcare and policy levels. This panel brings together leaders in this space to discuss what’s being done to change the conversation from maternal mortality and disparity to birth equity for all.

Womenhood, Motherhood and Entrepreneurship
Let’s face it. The world would be a better place if more women and mothers were able to launch and grow their businesses. If we trust the birth and mothering of human life with women, we should trust them with creating and nurturing a business to succeed. Gender equality is a hot topic, but what does it really mean in the world of entrepreneurship? What’s at stake if we don’t address the biases women face, from fundraising (receiving more advice than funds) to balancing or choosing between motherhood and business aspirations? Through real life accounts of gender bias (magnified for mothers and women of color), this innovating panel paints womanhood and motherhood not as a hindrance to entrepreneurship, but as essential to creating a healthier, wealthier, and more equitable world.

Moms are Working: Why Aren’t Maternity Politics?
Pregnant women — across all workplace sectors and organizational levels — experience subtle bias and overt discrimination. Parental leave policies in the U.S. remain some of the worst in the world: inadequate, according to reporting by Haley Swenson of Slate.com. Swenson will explain the policy and economic landscape in which progress on pregnancy-related discrimination has stalled. OB/GYN Dr. Adam Wolfberg explains clinical limits pregnancy places (or doesn’t place) on work, and business school professor Danna Greenberg reveals how leading companies help their best employees succeed at home and at work — and simultaneously improve culture and profits. Ovia Health Chief Product Officer Gina Nebesar describes innovative, women-centered solutions to this vexing problem.

More Memories from SXSW 2019
Change is Coming
Urban Mobility
It’s Time for Sports!
Saving the Ocean
Military Matters
Women’s Health
Social Media Power
Telling New Media Stories
Marvel’s Magic
Future Health
May the Fourth
Women in Tech
Growing Unicorns
Thriving at Work
Making a Difference
Fighting Fake News
Disaster Response
Hacking Democracy
Pete Buttigieg
Kara Swisher
Arlan Hamilton

Do these audio recordings inspire you to get involved in a SXSW session next year? Enter your forward-thinking speaking proposal for March 2020 via the SXSW PanelPicker. Speaking proposals for next year’s event are accepted via this interface from July 1 through July 19.

Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

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