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UCL Women's Liberation



UCL Women’s Liberation SIG Autumn Term 2022 – Karleen Gribble

By UCL Women's Liberation, on 20 September 2022

Mothers, Infants and Sexed Language: A Journey

Dr Karleen Gribble

In early 2022, I was co-author, with nine others, of a paper on the importance of sexed language in communications about pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. The paper attracted a lot of interest and has had nearly 100 000 reads. It is being applied in diverse contexts including being cited in the UK parliament as underpinning policy on use of sexed language in legislation. The paper was responding to the trend to desex language and much of the discussion around this has focused on the impact of desexing language on women’s rights. However, my work is very much anchored in a child rights perspective. In this presentation I will describe how I came to the sexed and gendered language issue and how and why ‘mother’ is such an important word in protecting the rights and needs of children.

UCL Women’s Liberation are delighted to welcome Dr Karleen Gribble.
Dr Karleen Gribble is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University. Her interests include infant and young child feeding in emergencies, regulation of the marketing of breastmilk substitutes, child rights, caregiver-child and child-caregiver attachment, adoption reform, and treatment of infants within the child protection and criminal justice systems. She has published research, provided media commentary, contributed to government enquiries, provided expert opinion for courts, and engaged in training of health professionals, social workers, and humanitarian workers on these subjects. She is a member of the steering committee of the international interagency collaboration the Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies Core Group and has been involved in policy development, training and advocacy in the area of infants and young children in emergencies since 2006. Karleen passionately advocates for recognition of the importance of mothers to their infants and works to create environments that support breastfeeding and the mother-infant relationship, particularly in situations of adversity.


Thursday 6th October 2022, 1-2pm, face-to-face seminar at UCL Institute of Education (room tbc).

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