June 18, 2012
Military service has an impact on health. That is true for all of our veterans, but women face unique challenges. Minnesota Governor, Mark Dayton, declared Monday, June 18, Women Veteran’s Day to honor the service of women in Minnesota. In the Summer of 2010 the Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Health published a volume of Health Generations focusing on the Health of Military Families, with attention to stressors that may especially impact women.
To learn more about the issues facing women serving in the military, visit the Service Women’s Action Network
March 1, 2012
An online exhibition of global art, voices, and ideas, MAMA: Motherhood around the Globe is an inspiring community for anyone who is a mother, knows one, or works with one (that’s all of you!). Housed through the International Museum of Women, the website includes videos, facts, and figures promoting healthy moms and its significance with delivering healthy babies. Graphic designs describe the status of Millennium Development Goals in related to gender equity, reproductive health and maternal mortality.
Visit the art gallery for paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptures of the beauties and perils of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. Read stories of motherhood from women around the world. Explore global MCH heroes and their novel ideas in preventing maternal mortality and supporting the health of women everywhere.
Do you have an experience (either domestically or globally) working with mothers you would like to share? As a mother, do you have stories you would like to tell others? What did you find most inspiring about the website? Let us know below or send us your anecdotes!
January 10, 2012
Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is a practice that completely or partially removes the external female genitalia. FGC has been reported in various cultures and countries across the world, but according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), almost ½ of all incidents occur in Egypt or Ethiopia. In communities that practice FGC—some Islamic– many proponents believe that FGC is sanctioned by the Quran (also spelled Koran; Islamic religious text); in fact, no religion, including Islam, is associated with FGC (HHS Office on Women’s Health). Debates continue as many do not understand that formal religious endorsement of FGC has never occurred.
Tradition and superstitions, such as cleanliness and family honor, contribute to the continuation of the practice. For communities that practice the tradition, fears drive families to participate: if a girl is not cut, she will be viewed as an outsider to a community and runs the risk of being unwed. Intervention strategies target men to abandon FGC as a norm, focusing on patriarchal belief systems and the subordination of women.
Although some groups point to the issue of cultural competence, human rights groups and the World Health Organization (WHO) argue that the health risks of FGC outweigh this. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948) states that every person has the right to health, well-being, and security. Although critics have argued that the UDHR is framed in a Western lens, the document guides issues that compromise the safety and health of humans, especially if inflicted by another being. According to the World Health Organization, health problems related to FGC include: bleeding; hemorrhaging; increased risk of Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) and HIV infection; infection of the genitals and urethra; painful scarring and menstruation; trauma and emotional distress; infertility; and problems during labor/pregnancy (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/).
Other strategies to decrease the incidence of FGC are seen in the below PBS documentary as well as in a New York Times focus. Grassroots social mobilization agents teach the community about the harms of female genital mutilation by moving this taboo topic out into public discourse. Their efforts are based on the belief that “before abandonment, comes communication and awareness.”
For more information on Female Genital Cutting, please visit the WHO’s website: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/. The New York Times video report is available at: http://video.nytimes.com/video/2011/10/16/world/africa/100000001115488/the-fight-against-female-genital-cutting.html