n Nandita Bajaj Joins FSM as Co-Director | Fair Start Movement

I am ecstatic to be joining the Fair Start Movement as the part-time voluntary co-director. I resonate deeply with FSM’s philosophy that is centered on the rights and well-being of current and future children and how those rights are inextricably linked to reproductive, ecological, animal, and social justice. I come to FSM with a background in engineering, education, and nonprofit management. I currently work full-time as the Executive Director of Population Balance. I recently finished my graduate degree in Humane Education where I studied the intimate links between pronatalism and anthropocentrism, and their impacts on human rights, animal protection, and environmental preservation.

Pronatalism is a set of pervasive social beliefs, assumptions, and forces across different cultures that pressure people, especially women, into having children. Current social and political pronatalist norms promote motherhood as a necessary part of a woman’s normal adult role. The idea that all women want to be – and should be – mothers undermines fully-informed and free decision-making about having children. Cultural notions of the biological clock, the maternal instinct, and masculine virility perpetuate these pronatalist pressures and prevent an authentic discussion around family choices. This bias is perpetuated by patriarchal and religious leaders as well as growth-based economists and politicians. These pressures are a source of much confusion, suffering, as well as reproductive and social injustice around the world for adults and children alike, and happen to also intersect with animal and environmental injustice.

My journey into pronatalism has helped me to understand the confusion and silence around openly discussing our unjust and unsustainable family planning policies. As a result of these insights, I have developed and now teach a course at Antioch University/Institute for Humane Education, “Pronatalism and Overpopulation: The Personal, Cultural, and Global Implications of Having a Child”. The goal of this course, and of my work in general, is to help normalise the conversations around authentic, liberated, and responsible family choices, including defining for ourselves what family means to us, free from oppressive social pressures. Such choices would inherently consider the wellbeing of people, animals, and the environment. And that is why I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining FSM because of its vision toward a just and sustainable planet for all beings.

I look forward to connecting with you over the coming weeks!

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