Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 10: Building a Women's Health Movement
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Organizing for dependable and appropriate health care begins when women join together to identify changes they need in their communities and in their health services. In the process of fighting for these changes, women get to know each other and become stronger as they share ideas and abilities. They learn how to seek out allies who are willing to support their goals and help with time, resources, and skills the women may lack. Through planning, carrying out, and evaluating their struggles, women gain experience in strategizing to win short- and long-term goals. And women who have never before participated in community decision-making often become leaders.
Sometimes organizers are neighbors or members of a community group. Sympathetic health workers may also initiate change and invite community organizers to be involved. Sometimes local authorities will support community proposals, and other times there will be conflict. The focus might be on changing local conditions or customs, or it might be on challenging laws or government policies. Whatever the goals, when women work together for better health services in their community, they help to build the movement for women’s health.