Remembering Alejandra Rotania

Posted by Center for Genetics and Society April 22, 2009
Biopolitical Times
We were greatly saddened to learn of the recent death of Alejandra Rotania, a Brazilian feminist whose work included important advocacy leadership and scholarship on the politics of human genetic and reproductive technologies. CGS was privileged to work with Alejandra; we will miss her greatly as a colleague and a friend, as will many in Brazil and around the world.

Alejandra was co-founder and executive coordinator of the Brazilian feminist organization Ser Mulher; a university professor; a member of the Brazilian National Health Council's National Commission on Ethics of Research on Human Beings; and author of A Celebracao do Temor: Biotecnologias, Reproducao, Etica e Feminismo (2001).

In 2002, Alejandra spoke at a CGS-sponsored briefing at the United Nations about the effort to establish an international treaty prohibiting human reproductive cloning. In 2003, CGS worked with Alejandra and her colleagues at Ser Mulher to organize a workshop at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Alejandra spoke about the particular dangers that new human biotechnologies pose for "women in general and especially for women of the Third World in the context of global hegemonic politics." Current scientific developments, she said, "transform life, nature, beings, and bodies - their functions and components, their most intimate nature - into objects of engineering and products for the market."

True to her appreciation for both advocacy and scholarship, Alejandra called for extending "civil society and feminist participation in the development of national and international public policies" on human biotechnology and spoke about the vital importance of "deepening the theoretical debate on these matters."

An email announcement of Alejandra's passing by Ser Mulher called her death a "great loss" for the feminist movement. Alejandra "dedicated her life to the cause of women and the fight for a more just and egalitarian world," the statement said. "Her critical thought and reflective stance will live on in feminist history and in women's movements."