28 May is International Day of Action for Women’s Health. For over 30 years, this day has been marked by women’s rights advocates and allies in the sexual and reproductive health movement worldwide. The premise of this international day of celebration and advocacy is that sexual and reproductive rights are an inalienable human right.
It Is Time to Take Action
The campaign raises awareness about various forms of institutional violence, including forced or coerced sterilisations, obstetric violence the denial of access to safe and legal abortion services, and the denial of access to contraceptives.
This date has been celebrated since 1987 when the International Women’s Health Meeting in Costa Rica, Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network proposed it as an international day of action for Women’s Health. The Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) soon got on board as well. After a successful initial campaign on the prevention of maternal mortality and morbidity, the day has gone on to become well-established international observance.
Organisations around the world are called upon to mobilise their communities on this day, around whichever women’s health-related topic is most relevant in each locality. Any individual or organisation working to advance women’s rights are invited to take the initiative and launch 28 May activities.
South Africa is one country in which women’s health issues are particularly pressing. Accordingly, Glenmed encourages all of our internal and external stakeholders, as well as other individuals and organisations in civil society at large, in the medical industry and in different sectors of the economy, to get involved and join the campaign for women’s reproductive rights. Although the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly change the way we commemorate the day, we are still in a position to come together – virtually, if not physically – and take more vital steps for this critical issue.