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Women Movement

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Women’s Health Movement
WEEK 4/Tue

Key Organizations
• 1970 - Boston Women’s Health Collective publishes Our Bodies Ourselves

• • • •

1971 - Feminist Women’s Health Centers 1973 - Committee to End Sterilization Abuse 1974 - National Women’s Health Network 1984 - National Black Women’s Health Project

Ideology of the Grassroots Feminist Health Movement
• Knowledge - critique medicalization • Empowerment / Authority • Consciousness raising groups “the personal is political” • Lay leadership • Refuse corporate sponsorship

Carol Downer

• Women’s Health in Women’s Hands

Feminist self-help centers
* women reclaimed power from the paternalistic and condescending medical community * women reclaimed the right to control their reproduction * women reclaimed the right to assume control of their own health

1969-1973 Chicago, “Jane” “This is Jane from women’s liberation. If you need assistance, leave your name and phone number and someone will call you back”

Feminist self-help centers
“Feminist” because: • Controlled by women • Health care seen as a highly politicized issue Common features: • information about women’s bodies • empowerment through validation of one’s own experiences • preference for female health care providers • critique of male- physician-controlled health care • critique of capitalist health care • challenge to impersonality and instrumentality

National Women’s Health Network
• envisioned the day when the women's health movement would have a full-fledged lobby in Washington , D.C. • national registry of women's health groups • challenged the medical establishment and the state

National Black Women’s Health Project
In 1984 NBWHP became an independent organization: • to enable Black women to understand the concepts of emotional, mental and physical health and the relationship among the three; • to provide Black women with information, skills, access to resources needed to live healthfully; • to facilitate the empowerment of Black women, both individually and collectively, to exercise control over their lives; • to ensure survival of future generations of Black people through the promotion of health maintenance and prevention.

WHM achievements
• Women gained more control over their reproductive rights • Gender-based research emerged as an important area of biomedicine • Significant progress has been made in research on cardiovascular diseases of women • Violence and discrimination against women have been recognized as a significant problem worldwide, and numerous programs have been implemented to address these issues

According to Women’s Health Network, you have the women's self help movement to thank if you: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Know what a cervix is Own your own speculum Have been shown your cervix and vagina during a gynecological exam Have purchased an over-the-counter vaginal remedy or pregnancy test Avoided an unnecessary hysterectomy Had natural childbirth Had your friend or partner present at the birth Avoided unnecessary intervention in childbirth Avoided cesarean section Have used donor insemination Considered or had a legal abortion Went in with your girlfriend for an exam, abortion or consultation Were given informed consent for the birth control pill or IUD Were offered a cervical cap as a birth control option Heard the health risks associated with breast implants, hormone replacement therapy, depo provera injections or norplant • Were given your choice of birth control • Were given options on health treatment

“Taking Our Bodies Back” (1974)
• "Taking Our Bodies Back" explores ten critical areas of the women's health movement: 1. self-help 2. birth at home 3. gynecological exam 4. hysterectomy 5. research 6. health care for women of color 7. drug company attitude 8. breast cancer 9. abortion 10.high school women's support group

#44 1. Which health disparities do American women suffer? 2. What are “Leading Health Indicators”? #45 3. What is meant by “reproductive choice”? #46 (333-339) 3. What is the “gag-rule” on abortion? 4. Why is it in conflict with US law? 5. Why does it undermine contraception policies, too?

#46 (343-346) 7. Why all the popular discussion surrounding teenage pregnancy in the 1980s is inherently flawed? 8. How do you interpret the rhetoric of popular reality shows such as “Teen Mom” and “16 & Pregnant”? 9. Why is the issue of teenage pregnancy problematic? 10.Which social inequalities does teenage pregnancy thrive upon and help to reproduce?

#46 (346-347) 11.Who is mostly affected by HIV/AIDS in the US nowadays? 12.Why is this particular group mostly affected? 13. Why are condoms seen as some of the “most objectionable contraceptives”? 14.Why do sexual conservatives oppose condom distribution? What are their arguments?

#47 (350-355) 15.Why do the loss of one or both breasts as a result of mastectomy, and the loss of hair as a result of chemotherapy have deep repercussions on the way breast cancer patients understand their own gender identity? (see analysis of “hair symbolism” in #38, and of “body image” and “femininity” in #35)

#50 (365-366) 16. What forms of racial stereotyping have African American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American women to face and challenge? 17. What are the consequences of the perpetuation of these myths and stereotypes?

#51 (369-376) 18. How was “it” before the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973?

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