MANA is a national midwifery organization that recognizes and represents ALL midwives regardless of credential and pathway; MANA is working hard to make midwifery more inclusive. MANA conferences are designed to encourage mutual solidarity, respect, and learning.
We invite you to be a part of a midwifery culture that acknowledges and honors the differences we bring in terms of our identities and our politics. We invite you to be part of this midwifery culture without marginalizing or tokenizing each other. We recognize the courage it takes to be part of such a community. We recognize that MANA has been historically and remains a majority-white organization due to systemic and institutional racism and white supremacy. We have to be deliberate about dismantling that, along with other systems of oppression.
MANA celebrates that midwives are not cookie cutter versions of one another. The differences and perspectives of each one of us have made us a true force of resistance and traditional birth work. MANA also acknowledges that it has marginalized and excluded important voices, as well as misappropriated culturally significant ceremonies and traditions. We are committed to accountability, reconciliation, and healing. And so we invite you to consider the following:
1) Many birth workers are constantly subject to disrespect and professional violence in the United States, in particular midwives who choose to work out of hospital. As well, many in attendance today may be survivors of violence. We ask that you keep this in mind during engagement with one another. As many of us deal with the effects of systemic, personal or historic trauma, we ask that the dignity and compassion we afford to our clients and friends be used here today with one another.
2) Some attendees may have disabilities that may or may not be visible. Some disabilities are physical and some are about the ways that we learn, understand and or communicate. Please practice patience with people when asked to speak louder, make special accommodations, or to do things differently so everyone can participate to their fullest extent.
3) Some attendees may regularly experience micro-aggressions; these are everyday, intentional or unintentional, hostile or negative messages, transmitted verbally, nonverbally or environmentally. Such micro-aggressions have a cumulative effect that can impact a person’s health and wellbeing. We should all work to become more aware of micro-aggressions we transit by uncovering implicit bias, and recognize the impact these negative messages have even when unintended.
4) MANA is committed to gender justice. Many birthworkers are marginalized due to their gender identity (such as women, or transgender, non-binary, or other gender non-conforming people). One way you can advance gender justice and affirm your co-participants’ gender identities is by telling people what pronouns you prefer for people to use when referring to you (e.g. “she/her/hers” or “they/them/theirs”), and honoring the preferences other people express. Refrain from making assumptions: if you are not sure, ask or use gender-neutral pronouns. This may be a new practice for some people, but creating an affirming and welcoming space for all genders gets easier with practice.
5) Midwives have always been the keepers of cultural tradition. MANA therefore has the honor of being a gathering space for midwives who represent communities who have survived colonization, genocide, and slavery. These oppressions do not live in the past: they are present in the health outcomes of the clients we serve, and the stolen indigenous land on which we gather. We ask that participants celebrate Indigenous and Black midwives’ precious task as stewards of these traditions by refraining from performing rituals belonging to these communities unless invited to do so, and creating space for them to share their own experiences and stories.
If you need support to participate fully, want to learn more about how to act in solidarity, or if you feel that this code of conduct has been violated, please go to the MANA Access and Equity table where you can strategize with a representative from the Division. Creating this culture of midwifery takes everyone doing their share. Thank you for having the courage and determination to do your part.