Image - Angela Garbes and Jenny Odell

San Francisco

Angela Garbes and Jenny Odell: Essential Labor, Mothering as Social Change

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Angela Garbes, the acclaimed author of Like a Mother, reflects on the state of caregiving in America. In her new book Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change, Garbes explores assumptions about care, work and deservedness, offering a deeply personal and rigorously reported look at what mothering is and can be. She places mothering in a global context to critically examine her perspectives of the complicated relationship to care work as a first-generation Filipino-American. Despite the mentally and physically demanding work mothers must endure in the absence of a social safety net to support them, she reframes caregiving as an opportunity to find meaning, to nurture a more profound sense of self, pleasure and belonging.

Join Angela Garbes and Jenny Odell for a powerful conversation on mothering as social change and how the act of caregiving offers the potential to create a more equitable society.


This program has 2 types of tickets available: In-person and online-only. Please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

Safety Protocols for in-person attendance:

• We follow best practices laid out by the CDC and state and local guidelines.
• All guests, staff, and volunteers must be fully vaccinated. Guest must show proof of full vaccination with photo I.D.
• Masks are encouraged while indoors (if you do not have one and would like one, inquire at our front desk for a complimentary mask).
• In-person capacity is limited.

Our LEED Gold-certified building is designed to cool with outside air, using digitally controlled moveable windows and large ceiling fans. We are deploying additional HEPA filters inside to scrub the air. This is all in addition to increased cleaning of surfaces throughout the building.

We welcome donations made during registration to support the production of our programming.

Copies of Essential Labor are available for purchase during registration (U.S. domestic shipping only).

This program is part of The Commonwealth Club's Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Bernard Osher Foundation

Garbes photo by Elizabeth Rudge.

All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable.

Wed, Jun 1 / 5:30 pm PDT

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Angela Garbes

Angela Garbes

Author, Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change; Twitter @agarbes

Image - Jenny Odell

In Conversation with Jenny Odell

Multi Disciplinary Artist; Writer; Twitter @the_jennitaur


5 p.m. doors open & check-in
5:30–6:30 p.m. program
6:30 p.m. book signing
(all times PDT)

In Person:
$10 members
$15 nonmembers
$35 members with a book
$45 nonmembers with a book
Free for members
$5 for nonmembers
$26 members or nonmembers with a book