HealthSharing

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Healthsharing was published from 1979 to 1993 and was groundbreaking for its time, providing critical information on women’s health from a non-medical perspective, with a Canadian focus.  In 1979, a small group of women, all actively committed to social change and to empowering women with knowledge about their bodies and their health, met in Toronto to start a small revolution in the form of a 20-page magazine they called Healthsharing. It was an era when women’s centres and women’s health collectives were forming in a growing number of cities and towns across Canada.

In its 14 years of publication, the magazine provided a true alternative to what was then referred to as “the medical model” of women’s health. The magazine challenged conventional medical authority by questioning many existing practices. It insisted on a holistic view of women’s health which always considered the context of women’s lives, not just the sum of their body parts. It offered new solutions to women’s problems (like support groups instead of medication for post-partum women), and perhaps most importantly, it gave credence to women’s stories. It provided a space for the voices of women who didn’t often make it into mainstream press: women whose medical concerns (such as PMS) were often dismissed by unbelieving physicians, women who spoke freely about the mistreatment of some groups of women in the hands of the health-care system, including women of colour, lesbians, women with disabilities, Aboriginal women, and incarcerated women.

This legacy has born fruit and led to some of the successes we have experienced as a movement over the past 20 years. Menopause came out of the closet, breast cancer finally got the attention it had long deserved, and the relationship between violence against women and a wide range of health issues is finally recognized. The key messages of the women’s health movement—the need for women to have control over their own bodies, the need to view and understand women’s health in a broader social context, the need for other than biomedical approaches to women’s health, and the importance of being wary of quick solutions like surgery and pills—have filtered through to some key decision makers and have clearly influenced the practices of some health-care providers and medical curricula.”  Anne Rochon Ford http://www.cwhn.ca/en/node/46098

For issues of HealthSharing, see http://www.cwhn.ca/en/node/46457

 

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HealthSharing

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