Let’s Talk About It – #WomensHealthMatters

May 24, 2022

To: All MoveUP Members

On May 28, the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, activists around the world will take action, mobilize, and highlight demands towards the fulfillment of women’s right to health. To draw attention to this day, we will be running a social media campaign and we want to feature you, our members, to show we are all in solidarity for women’s right to health.

We are asking you to send us photos of yourself and your colleagues holding signs with #WOMENSHEALTHMATTERS to jbanfield@moveuptogether.ca by 12:00 p.m., on Friday May 27 in order to be part of our social media campaign.

Why it matters

Within the context of the post-pandemic recovery, we continue to hold governments accountable to the gendered impacts of the pandemic that remain unaddressed to date. Some of these impacts include loss of livelihood, increased unpaid care burdens on women and girls, heightened risks to gender-based violence, and barriers to accessing essential sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortion and post-abortion care. We also escalate the need for accountability at the global level as we recognize that the multiple crises we face – economic, political, humanitarian, climate, disinformation crises – require no less than concerted global effort to be adequately addressed.

Around the world medical research has favored the male form, as men’s bodies have traditionally been the standard in medicine. This leaves a gap in the understanding of women’s health and has creates a social stigma around these health topics creating a sense of embarrassment for women when it comes to addressing their health issues.

Menstruation, sexual health, and reproductive systems are an important part of women’s health, and a lack of open conversations embeds a stigma in the discussion. Women spend their lives adjusting to, and understanding, their bodies. Not only does a woman’s body change and fluctuate monthly, but also during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.  The changes are vast, and the learning curve is just as immense. All the while, women recognize risks, feel pain, and often suffer in silence all because the female body has long been misunderstood, maligned, and under researched.

Gynecology is not the only aspect of women’s health that is lacking the necessary medical knowledge. Women are actually less likely to receive CPR from bystanders and therefore are less likely to survive cardiac arrest. Most women have the same symptoms as men, up to 70% of women have chest pressure or chest tightness. But 30% of women have atypical symptoms which can lead to misdiagnosis and a lack of treatment.

There is also gender bias when it comes to treating pain. Studies show that women are less likely to receive pain medication than men. They’re more likely to be dismissed, as doctors and others invalidate their pain, claiming that they are overly emotional or that their symptoms are not real.

While our society has made strides in women’s rights over the past hundred years, there are still features of government, health care and social structure that support the antiquated dichotomy of men as active and women as passive.

Let’s start talking about women’s health. The stigma associated with women’s health impacts not only our physical health but also our emotional wellbeing. Breaking the sustained silence surrounding women’s health means listening to women and giving them a voice for policy change and decision making.

Thank you for your solidarity and for taking part in our #WOMENSHEALTHMATTERS social media campaign.

On behalf of the Women & Gender Rights Committee,

Christy Slusarenko

File Number: 22-MoveUP-CMIT-W&GR-Let's Talk About It – #WomensHealthMatters-May-24
Union Label: jb:usw2009


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