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How We Can All Make More Strides in Women’s Health Care

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

I have only recently started being more outspoken by sharing my story and journey online, which has really pushed me out of my comfort zone. In the last few months, I have been able to connect with many other passionate people, including female founders of femtech start-ups who align with my commitment to improve all aspects of women’s health.

This is also the year that I launched The Maternal Health Project, a website my team and I have put a lot of hard work and research into, to educate and provide access to relevant resources related to reproductive justice, maternal care, and family planning.

The truth is that we’ve all had experiences with our health and in our healthcare experiences that are different from those of the male sex. Often, and more importantly, those experiences are typically tied (beyond basic anatomy) to our complex genetic makeup, intolerances, life choices, and more.

From the awkward pelvic exam and the contraceptive medication rollercoaster to a variety of sexual and reproductive health concerns, there is plenty to relate on. Even more so when you recall what felt off or missing from those interactions.

We need more visibility and volume to make significant strides in women’s health care. Where can you and I collectively join our brilliant minds and ask for change so that we can stop having these relatable tales?

Let’s dig in to chat about how you can shift your perspective, start small then expand, and strengthen your voice and impact.

Shift Your Perspective

Don’t let your imposter syndrome or fear of impending doom caused by overwhelm convince you that your compassion and participation aren’t necessary — because they are absolutely critical.

It’s easy to resign yourself to the “I’m only one person” mentality. As women, I know we have all felt that from time to time in this journey. And the men in our lives who are supporting the cause may also feel helpless.

But here’s a reality check: you matter. The weight of your impact isn’t any less important simply because you tell yourself it’s not important. Use your voice. Or if you tell one person or one thousand people, you still matter.

Here are some simple but real reminders that are objectively true. I hope these will help you feel more empowered as you find your footing and become more involved in women’s advocacy:

I am an example to myself. This is an especially true and powerful reminder when I’m feeling down or things are not going my way. Following through on your priorities and the promises you have made to yourself is how you build trust in your abilities.

I am also an example to those around me. I take my personal responsibility as a mother of two girls very seriously, and I think about the butterfly effect that my actions and energy create for the women in my immediate and extended circles. Think of younger you — who did she need as representation?

I’m not unique in my thinking. I’m certainly not the first or only person who has witnessed and experienced what I do, and I likely won’t be the last. There are other women and female-identifying individuals out there dealing with similar concerns or thoughts related to their health and autonomy, and they need to hear my voice. Only you can say what you have to say in the unique way you can say it, but also remember: you don’t have to say something new if you say something true — especially when you say it with passion.

There is a red thread in these grounding reminders: a giving-first mentality. I am more consciously trying to operate with the mentality to be giving instead of focused on getting. My assets are my mind’s energy and attention, my time, and my money. I am intentional to offer one or all of these to the women and allies I meet so that they know I’m in their corner.

Ultimately for me personally, I would like to be known for my persistence to make a change in women’s health. This is the legacy I’m building…it’s the important stuff that I want to be mentioned in my obituary. This is what my children, and their children, will know about me.

Start Small, Then Expand

If the legacy idea feels daunting, that’s okay. Take it one step at a time and learn how to observe and understand, then expand. That’s how you can confidently make a focused yet flexible plan and take consistent action.

Here’s how I got started:

I started by reflecting on and examining what I already knew. Then I began to fill the gaps of my knowledge through relevant books, articles, and research in various health conditions and concerns that disproportionately and differently impact the female sex because of our biology.

Then, I expanded to asking others about their experiences, their work, and their own research. Once I had this information, I expanded again and finally felt like it was time to share my personal insights and learnings in a thoughtful, meaningful way.

Now, I’m in the phase where I want to double down on that effort and make sure that I’m walking the walk and continuing to shine the spotlight out on those who are working to make things better as well.

(A quick shoutout: if you are reading this and want to connect about your story or your work, let’s do it. Here’s my calendar.)

This is a cycle that builds on itself and repeats with every new learning related to women’s rights.

There will be times you’ll be able to commit to more, but other times that won’t be the case. You do you. It all helps, and it’s all modeling something to aspire to.

Simple Ways I’ve Found to Strengthen Your Voice and Take Action

Start at home. Consider your closest circles and relationships, where you will have a direct and somewhat immediate impact. What are you teaching your children? How are conversations with your partner, your in-laws, and other family members? What about your friendships? Think about how you approach your interactions and how the topic of women’s health shows up.

Watch your wallet. Think about your personal purchase decisions and how they impact reproductive rights. For example, Walgreens is refusing to stock abortion pills in most states. What companies are truly holding women’s health back, and how can we divest from them?

Get social. This doesn’t have to be the biggest activist event in the world for it to matter. Find a local group, educational program, or even a book signing for an author doing important work to educate and create change for women. All of these things signal and provide networking opportunities and real support to those there. It also helps you build your own momentum.

Keep learning. Activism is an ongoing effort, and when it comes to women’s health, it is constant and everywhere. Remember that there is never a finish line — it’s all about the journey. Stay curious and open-minded, and keep looking for ways to improve the world for women. Find out where your employer stands on benefits. Make time for some recommended reading related to the different specific aspects of women’s health. Establish new habits that prompt you to pause and think deeper about your routines to be better in service of yourself, your children, and women across the world.

Join me in the effort to improve women’s healthcare with the Maternal Health Project by sending me a message or scheduling a call through my calendar.

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