Women and Health - Essay Example

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Women and Health
The edition of the book Our Bodies, Ourselves began as a booklet written by twelve Boston feminists. The booklet of 136 pages was sold at 35 cents, and it was called Women and Their Bodies, which was published in1970 by the New England Press (Brehm, 2001). …
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Women and Health Women and Health The edition of the book Our Bodies, Ourselves began as a booklet written by twelve Boston feminists. The booklet of 136 pages was sold at 35 cents, and it was called Women and Their Bodies, which was published in1970 by the New England Press (Brehm, 2001). The notion of publishing the booklet was based on the need to have a publication intended as a course for women’s health. The argument behind this notion was based on the necessity for women to have a say about their own health. This was because there was a claim that women were frustrated and angered by not having a say about their own health, but instead, were kept on relying on the experts (Brehm, 2001). According to Brehm, this led the women to research and find information pertaining to their health on their own, which made Wendy Sanford write about abortion and Jane Pincus write about pregnancy (Brehm, 2001). Esther Rome and Paula Doress also contributed by writing about postpartum depression. The publication of this book achieved an unprecedented success, which can be attributed to the formation of the non-profit organization called the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective in 1973. It was during this year that a 276 page book was published titled Our Bodies, Ourselves which included first person narratives by women about their health related problems and experiences. The non-profit organization later adopted the name “Our Bodies, Ourselves” as the official name of the group. The women, responsible for the publication of the book and formation of the non-profit organization, concluded that it was better and more effective for women to address issues concerning their own health (Brehm, 2001). In the 1950s and 60s, women’s health problems were largely believed to have been the attribute of their sexual organs, which made women being taken through some lethal medical procedures. The problem of women’s health during this time was accentuated by the fact that all the doctors in the United States were men. This made it difficult for them to relate and understand the psychological and emotional toll that reproduction had on women’s body. This was compounded by the fact that these male doctors found it hard to intimately delve into the delicate nature of women’s anatomy (Brehm, 2001). Through education and social awareness campaigns carried out by women activists, women’s health care saw significant improvements in the service delivery. Specialized fields in medicine, which dealt with women’s related health issues and policies were formulated to help advance the plight of health care, which was primarily focused on the reproductive health. Consciousness raising groups in the 1960s and 70s were mainly influenced by feminist ideologies that were gaining popularity among women groups. Women movements in the US were characterized by an advocacy for women’s rights based on reproduction, domestic violence, and an equal pay in the work place and women’s suffrage in politics. The 1960’s and 70’s saw the rise of the Civil rights movement which campaigned against discrimination based on gender and race among other prejudices in the society (Brehm, 2001). This movement acted as a platform which women’s movements could be pegged on in an effort to further their demands for equality. The consciousness that brought about women’s movements was occasioned by the realization that women were as capable as men, which was promoted by their progressive participation in the two World wars. Education also played a key role in advancing this consciousness because it enabled women to learn about their rightful place and a role in the society. The book Our Bodies, Ourselves made a significant contribution to how society perceived women’s health issues. This was because it gave the society an opportunity to look into the issue from women’s point of view. This can be attributed to the subsequent publication of the book, which included personal testimonials of different women about their experiences concerning various health related problems. The book helped change the notion, that most women related health problems were caused by their sexual organs, to the conventional thought of general causative agents of diseases among women (Brehm, 2001). Women could be perceived and considered on an equal platform as men were with regards to health issues. The book helped create a better awareness of the need for some specialized attention to women’s reproductive health, which was a major cause of mortality among women. Mahabouba’s treatment by her auntie was unfair because she subjected her to inhumane conditions, and she denied her the right to get any education. The sale of Mahabouba by her neighbor shows how people can have a disregard for other people’s welfare for the love of money. Violence against women in the society is illustrated by Mahabouba’s mistreatment by her husband and by the fact nothing was done to alleviate her situation by fellow women and the society in general. This shows that there is the need to formulate ways of mitigating the issue of violence against women by putting up measures to ensure that violence against women is a punishable offense by law in all the countries. Catherine and Rag Hamlin have helped to save some of these young girls by creating community outreach programs and centers. Here, the girls are rehabilitated, counseled of their traumatic experiences, and taught how to further the fight against the girl-children oppression in the society. Catherine and Rag are also involved in creating public awareness campaigns aimed at educating the society of the negative impacts of discrimination and oppression of girls in the community. The question, “would the world stand by if it were men who were dying for completing their reproductive function?” (Brehm, 2001) can be addressed by looking at men’s role and position in the society. During a long time, men dominated all the spheres of life including the resources available for health care. All the medical resources and research were directed at understanding the causes of diseases among men, which made it easier to treat health related problems of men than of women. This means that the situation where men would die for completing their reproductive function would not have happened. This is because there were sufficient health care resources to cater for their medical concerns. Reference Brehm, B.A. (2001). Knowledge is power: Our bodies, ourselves, and the Boston women’s health book collective. In S.J.M Freeman, S.C. Bourque & C. Shelton (Eds.) Women on power: Leadership redefined (pp. 149-170). Boston: Northeastern University Press. Read More
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