The Politics, Economics & Moral Aspects of Women’s Health
The change we are trying to create has multifaceted implications.
It’s not just about women’s health, it is about economic ideology
For our generation to raise the standards of women’s health, whether maternal, sexual or reproductive, we need to shift existing views in cost vs. investment and reactive treatment vs. prevention.
We can no longer afford to make decisions aimed at short-term savings. Not if these have an impact on the health of women and their choices. Often, women find themselves in a position where maternity is not financially viable – or desirable – because they can’t afford to have unpaid maternity leave, they fear the negative impact on their careers, or because the level of stress of trying to do everything takes a toll on their mental wellbeing. By focusing on creating a support system at the workplace that serves the needs of new mothers -and fathers, as equal partners in the family-, we will facilitate healthy work-life balance.
Also, the lack of personalized women’s health educational resources and therapy awareness leads to false notions on what can be improved. The belief that women have to live with symptoms such as stress incontinence, because it’s part of having children or aging is not uncommon.
They don’t always get encouraged by the medical community to seek the right alternatives other than to wait until it’s worse, then fix it with a surgical procedure.
[...] As more professionally ambitious women demand a 50/50 on “the second shift” – that is, that their partners contribute the same amount of dedication to family and home -, male employees’ “seemingly unlimited” work availability will not remain untouched. They, too, will have to go back home to take care of their children.
Therefore, the aforementioned practices are not just ethically wrong, but will soon become unsustainable. Progressive organizations that want to attract talent need to integrate policies that make work/family balance possible. Flexible schedules and health support and childcare close to office campuses are highly valued. Companies like Qualcomm and LinkedIN are already on board.
It is political
It wasn’t until some developed countries declared the declining number of born babies as “crisis situation”, partially also due to its implications on the economy now that we also live longer, that those select governments started taking steps towards making it easier for young couples to build a family.
In addition to this, women’s reproductive and sexual health and freedom is currently on the line. It feels like for every step forward, we take another two steps back. Even safe, legal contraception forms are under scrutiny and might be limited. Reproductive and sexual health services, education and support are insufficiently covered by government programs, and would be out of reach for many women more women if it wasn’t for the work of some non-governmental organizations.
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