May 12-18th is National Women’s Health Week (NWHW). It ends today, but there is still time to make that mani/pedi appointment, take a long bath to check in with your body, or schedule an annual screening or physical.
Pioneered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, NWHW is a weeklong observance aimed to bring together communities, businesses, government, health organizations and centers to promote women’s health, raise awareness, and encourage women to become advocates for their own care.
The Office on Women’s Health recommends women take the below actions toward greater self care:
- Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
- Get active.
- Eat healthy.
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet, and texting while driving.
NWHW comes on the heels of Angelina Jolie’s Op-Ed in The New York Times: “My Medical Choice.” In the article she discusses her choice to have mastectomy as a preventative measure to combat future risk of breast cancer. Jolie’s choice has been criticized as privileged, but regardless of class controversy, it was an extremely brave choice and, most importantly, it was her choice. For more detailed information on preventive mastectomies, read: “Angelina Jolie, Breast Cancer, and You: How to Make the Right Decisions for YOUR Health.”
It is equally important to include self-identified women during National Women’s Health Week and to encourage greater care for female-identified persons, including trans women undergoing feminizing hormonal treatment. Trans men who have female reproductive organs should also have access to gynecological services. Encourage your local health center(s) to include trans health in their model of care. The Trans Greater Access Project (TGAP) is a great place to begin.
Whether you are a woman simply relaxing this week, a celebrity who made a brave and difficult decision about her body, or a trans person who stepped into a community health center for the first time, it is important that care of our bodies and ourselves is taken. And taken seriously.
What did you do to celebrate National Women’s Health Week? Let us know in the comments!