When we speak of feminism, we often refer to cultural struggles, political activism, and the battle to regain spaces once reserved only for the male community in the world.
But as time has passed — and especially thanks to the second wave of feminism in recent decades — the umbrella of feminism has encompassed many other aspects of the world’s political life.
One example has been the work of Lisa Campo-Engelstein, a bioethics researcher specializing in fertility who is considered by the BBC as “one of the 100 inspiring and influential women of 2019.”
Educated at Middlebury College with a double major in philosophy and pre-med, and a minor in sociology, this researcher has focused her philosophical work on bioethics — the ethical debate around medical and biological advances, as well as medical practice — especially on reproduction, sexuality, and queer debate.
But it has been her work on male contraception that has won her the attention of the feminist community.
— Lisa Campo-Engelstein (@CampoEngelstein) November 15, 2019
As she exposes on her web platform, Campo-Engelstein explains her work by “analyzing how gender norms have led to the disparity in contraceptive options between women and men” and she argues that “new male contraceptives would unburden women from bearing most of the responsibility for contraception, enhance men’s reproductive autonomy, decrease worldwide unmet contraceptive need, and advance gender equality.”
In a recent interview with Gizmodo, the researcher explained: “We tend to conflate reproduction with women, and so assume that all reproductive matters are ‘women’s issues.’ When we have that mentality, we ignore male reproduction — we overlook it altogether.”
“Some argue that it’s the science — that it’s much harder to control millions of sperm, versus one egg. But I don’t think that’s the entire picture. I think there are many other factors involved, and that a lot of them have to do with gender norms.”
In addition, her work on fertility preservation, especially in cancer patients or individuals with differences in sexual development, seeks to advocate for inclusion and reform of the health insurance system.
The work of this young researcher seeks to address the political debate from the creation of concepts — the core of the philosophical debate — and the argumentation around ethics and inclusive processes of representation.
In this way, she also explains how “much of my recent work centers on caring for LGBTQ patients. Some of this work addresses [sic] is within reproductive ethics, such as addressing fertility preservation for intersex and transgender adolescents and expanding the definition of infertility to include LGBTQ couples and single individuals.”
This would then seem to be the beginning of the opening of the feminist debate in spheres that go beyond the malleability of cultural manifestations and puts the scientific tools within the reach of those of us who seek to end the criticism of the feminist movement for good.