What is the significance of this day ?
May 28th has been commemorated as the International Day of Action for Women’s Health for over 30 years by women’s rights advocates and allies in the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) movement worldwide. The campaign seeks to provide women’s grassroots organizations with greater access to information than was previously available, bring to light significant gaps in the research data on women’s health, and critically, create a platform to highlight the importance of women’s health as an issue.
Cleberaged across the world by reproductive and abortion rights activists & organization, this year the world focused on discussing and amplifying the growing need of ‘Self Managed Abortions’ across the world, especially in context of Covid 19 and circumstances like the worldwide lockdown in 2020.
Like each year, speaking truth to power were our Youth Champions across Asia with participation from India, Indonesia, Nepal and Vietnam demanding the right to make decisions for their own bodies!
On this #InternationalDayofActionforWomensHealth amidst the almost war-like situation we are in, even the most powerful countries have bent their knees to the ‘invisible enemy’ COVID19 while revealing the gaps in our basic systems of health and governance and the very structure in which we had built our society up until now.
Not only is it a time to introspect on our own understanding of ‘access’, ‘privileges’, and ‘opportunities’, but it is more important than ever before to question and rationalize the words, actions and ideologies of our leaders whom we have put in charge to serve and protect us from threats exactly like these.
Its important now more than ever to speak truth to power
Therefore this year, which is the International Day of Access for Women’s Health, our Youth Champions across Asia have some questions and suggestion for the Leaders of their respective countries, that ensure access to ALL reproductive rights and services, for women everywhere.
This year on IDAWH, ASAP highlighted some of the many common stereotypes ascribed to women and critique their ‘most important role’ according to society, which is a reproduction.
The emphasis of this campaign was to realize that women can be so much more than just mothers or wives or a medium to ensure continuity of her husband’s lineage.
Therefore each picture challenges one such norm in our society that reduces her value to her gender or her uterus with complete disregard for her choices.
The theme for our campaign this year was #ThatsWhatSheSaid, a play on the commonly used colloquial joke phrase.
The phrase ‘That’s What She Said’ is often used as a punch line to jokes as a way of making the preceding statement sexual innuendo. The format of the joke sees women as devoid of having any sexual agency and a subject-body. Through our campaign, we reclaim the phrase, #ThatsWhatSheSaid, to center women in the demand for their sexual and reproductive health and rights!
Our campaign this year was conceptualized and developed by our wonderful cohort of Youth Champions at the India Safe Abortion Youth Advocates (I-SAY).
Previous Campaigns can be accessed here.