The Women’s Health Movement (WHM) came about during the 1960s and the 1970s with the primary goal to improve health care for all women. There were many challenges faced during the 1980s,however the WHM managed to make significant gains in women’s health in the 1980’s and 1990. In the past, women’s health was often seen as the health of a woman’s reproductive system, however, today new understandings of woman’s health is coming about and the thought of women’s health as reproductive health is being expanded.
In order to understand what women’s health is, and why we do it, it is necessary to understand the history of the women health movements in the past to understand how we have reached where we have today. It is also very important to recognize the diversity of women’s lives and the diversity that exists among women. In the past, questions existed about how women’s health was different from “human health”, but today there is evidence available about the differences between women and men, and today we are able to question the things that we do because of the many years of women’s health advocacy, research, and services.
Womens health was affected by other factors such as gender-based social inequalities, and the women’s health movement was really about empowerment and challenging patriarchal structures in order to give women increasing control over their body, especially their reproductive system. There has been a major focus on women from a lower socioeconomic status because poverty yields a higher burden on women and girls health due to issues such as malnutrition. Lower-income women may also face a lot of barriers when it comes to accessing health services which threatens the quality of health care they receive.
When I was reading this article, I noticed the common theme of police power that we have studied in this class in the case of legislation justirfying the prohibitiion of contraception and abortion in the 1800’s. This was justified to preserve womens health and their maternal role. At that time, maternity was the primary function of a female in society and strictly regulating these contraceptive methods didn’t give women much of a choice.
The Womans Health movement confronted many problems and discrimination that affected womans health care, and after a long battle it has finally become an integral and important part of society. However there is still so much to be accomplished, and as society evolves, Public Health needs to also keep evolving in order to come up with new ways to develop effective health promotion programs for women.