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Exploring issues in women's health
Exploring issues in women's health

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1 Thinking about women’s health today

Before you start, you’ll watch a video featuring OU academics, Dr Sara MacKian and Dr Sharon Mallon, as well as OU employees discussing issues in relation to women’s health.

Activity 1 Issues in women’s health

Watch the video and as you’re watching consider your response to the question ‘If you could click your fingers and solve a problem to improve women’s health’ what problem would you solve?

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Video 1
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In the video several ‘click your fingers’ examples are provided in relation to women’s health, for instance:

  • If men were magically given periods, they would experience the pain and disruption that these cause and the world is likely to change quite radically for the better as a result.
  • In terms of mental health, addressing toxic diet culture and unrealistic expectations in terms of body image would make a major difference to the mental wellbeing of women.
  • Appreciating women for who they are, by no longer objectifying them and focusing on how women look – this would be extremely beneficial.
  • Improving access to abortion (especially in Northern Ireland) and addressing the stigma attached to abortion.
  • Providing affordable treatment options for women who cannot get pregnant.

In the video there are other key messages. For example, Sara and Sharon highlight that women’s bodies are often controlled by others, especially in relation to reproduction. There can also be a medicalisation of nature processes, such as menopause, which is frequently pathologised in an inappropriate way, given that it is a normal biological process. There is a need for a wider understanding of women’s health and issues, because keeping these ‘hidden’ or ‘unspeakable’ is clearly problematic.