I’ve often blogged and spoken about the many parallels between the women’s movement and the patient empowerment movement. Here’s one perfect quote from Miriam Hawley, one of the founders of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, whom I met last year:
“We weren’t encouraged to ask questions, but to depend on the so-called experts. Not having a say in our own health care frustrated and angered us. We didn’t have the information we needed, so we decided to find it on our own.”
– Miriam Hawley, 2004 (Wikipedia)
Sounds a bit like e-patient thinking, yes?
It’s hard to imagine the kind of advice women were given fifty years ago about their own bodies – Barbara Ehrenreich’s astounding book For Her Own Good: two centuries of the experts’ advice to women includes many tidbits, such as a doctor’s assertion that college education is hazardous to a woman’s long-term uterine health.*
So fifty years ago – May 9, 1969 – Miriam and a bunch of other uppity women got together at Emmanuel College in Boston, for an event that led to real change. I had the thrill this winter of connecting with Miriam. And this year, on Friday evening, May 10, a 50th anniversary celebration will take place at Suffolk University in Boston.
But wait – there’s more! The other big news for 2019 is on that orange invitation / poster:
In 2019 we launch a new phase – Our Bodies Ourselves Today – to carry the OBOS torch of the feminist health movement into the future.
“OBOST” will live at Suffolk’s Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights, which is why the event will be there.
Registration (free) is open now. I’ll be there – I hope you’ll register and attend, too. What they stood for then – and stand for today – has much in common with the culture change we’re working on in medicine. After all: in all of healthcare, it is about our bodies, ourselves. Come honor these pioneers.
* Uterine trouble from higher ed?? Seems to me that men have more trouble mixing college and their reproductive systems … and I say that having been one.