Archive for the ‘OBOS 40th Anniversary’ Category

September 7, 2011

New Blog Series: Meet OBOS’s Global Partners Working to Advance Women’s Health and Human Rights

Today we kick off a series of blogs posts by and about members of the Our Bodies Ourselves Global Network who have adapted “Our Bodies, Ourselves” in their own countries, using a range of print, digital and social interactive formats for outreach and advocacy.

40th AnniversaryAs part of its 40th anniversary celebration, Our Bodies Ourselves decided to honor its global partners by adding them to the Women’s Health Heroes Hall of Fame.

These courageous women join an impressive group of U.S. and global advocates — including midwives, student activists, abortion counselors, health care reform activists, bloggers, physicians — who have been nominated in past years by OBOS readers.

In this blog series, we’ll introduce you to some of our health heroes who are coming to Boston on Oct. 1 to attend the OBOS anniversary symposium, “Our Bodies, Our Future: Advancing Health and Human Rights for Women and Girls.”

The symposium is open to the public but seats filled quickly and there is now a long waiting list. The good news, though, is that the event will be broadcast live online, and we’ll soon post information for groups and individuals who would like to host viewing parties at their homes or schools. You can view panels featuring these extraordinary women and hear for yourself how they are working to transform the lives of girls and women worldwide.

The first posts in this series focuses on the work of Women and Their Bodies, a collaboration of Israeli and Palestinian women who are publishing Arabic and Hebrew resources based on “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” and the Research Group on Women and Laws in Senegal (Groupe de Recherche sur les Femmes et les Lois au Senegal, or GREFELS), which created the health book “Notre Corps, Notre Sante” for French-speaking Africa. In the coming weeks, you’ll meet our partners in Japan, Armenia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey and India.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to use the comments to ask questions about their work.

August 29, 2011

Celebrate With Our Bodies, Ourselves: 40th Birthday Cabaret Show in Cambridge

Our Bodies, Ourselves Turns 40!Ready to party in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Our Bodies, Ourselves? Then get ready for a cabaret fundraiser on Thursday, September 22, at OBERON, the second stage of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) in Cambridge, Mass.

“The show features women in charge of their bodies, their creativity, and their self-expression,” said Our Bodies Ourselves board member and cabaret producer, Nancy Allen, “but it is primarily about having a great time and celebrating a milestone in women’s health history. This cabaret show is not just a fundraiser for a good cause, but also a fun and entertaining evening out for anyone who loves women.”

Cabaret acts include acrobatics, belly dance, burlesque, live music, hula hooping, tap dance, poetry, and comedy. Local comedian Robin Maxfield will emcee the event. Performances include:

* Four-part harmonies and acoustic music from adam&eve
* Dance performances by Vadalna Tribal Dance Company and Boston Tap Company
* Comedy by Jenny Zigrino, Marcy Goldberg Sacks, and Rachel Kahn
* Gender-bending and gender-blending clowning of Johnny Blazes
* Poetry and spoken word by Lady Rose and UnAmerika’s Sweetheart Karin Webb
* Partner acrobatics from Marci Diamond & Teresa Kochis of the Boston Circus Guild
* Burlesque performances by Sugar Dish (The Slutcracker, Babes in Boinkland), Mary Widow (Black Cat Burlesque), and Rogue Burlesque
* Jazz vocals of Lilly Bordeaux
* Rosie the Riveter-themed hula hooping by Little L and Lolli Hoops of the Boston Hoop Troop

“We’re thrilled that such a diverse and talented cast of performers will be donating their time for what is sure to be a great show,” said Allen. “They will make our birthday one to remember!”

Co-producer and fellow Our Bodies Ourselves board member Heather Nelson said, “Many of the performers told us how much impact the book had on their lives, their health, and their self-confidence. For many women and men, Our Bodies, Ourselves has had a lasting and life-long impact. And that is worth celebrating.”

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and show is at 8 p.m. Tickets and more information are available at the OBERON website,  All proceeds and ticket sales will go directly to Our Bodies Ourselves.

The 40th Birthday Bash is one of several anniversary-related events including: A global symposium, “Our Bodies, Our Future: Advancing Health and Human Rights for Women and Girls,” on Saturday, Oct. 1, at Boston University (there is now a waiting list only for this event); the release of the ninth edition of the “Our Bodies, Ourselves” book, which will be available for sale at the cabaret; and a video project that includes stories from women and men describing the impact of the book on their lives as well as their thoughts on the history and future of women’s health. Learn more about how to share your story — on video or in print.

And stay tuned for information about the book tour, which will include Boston, San Francisco, and D.C., among other cities.

July 28, 2011

Meet the Newest Members of the Women’s Health Heroes Hall of Fame

Update Sept. 7Blog series by and about OBOS’s global partners launches today!

In 2009, Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) launched its first-ever Women’s Health Heroes Awards to honor women and men who have made championing women’s health their life’s work. Since then, 40 individuals and groups have been inducted into OBOS’s Women’s Health Hall of Fame, selected from hundreds of nominations.

This year is a special year for OBOS; 2011 marks 40 years of activism in the United States and the evolution of OBOS into a vibrant international network of social change activists. Our network partners in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe bring health resources based on “Our Bodies, Ourselves” to their communities and fearlessly advance the health and human rights of women and girls in their countries. They often do so at grave personal risk in some of the most socially and politically charged regions of the world.

They are our heroes, and they are the newest inductees into OBOS’s Women’s Health Heroes Hall of Fame. We’ll post more about each group here on the blog later this summer. Until then, here’s a brief look at why we celebrate them:

  • Alternative Culture Publishing (Korea) for leading public discourse on sexuality and prioritizing the needs of young Koreans.
  • Anveshi (India) for reminding us that solutions to the health crisis in that country must be situated within a unique and complex fabric of family… caste … class … community… and state.
  • “For Family and Health” Pan-Armenian Association (Armenia) for bringing affordable – and free – reproductive care to women and girls across Armenia.
  • Cairo Women’s Health Book Collective (Egypt) for going where few have gone with the first Arabic edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” taking on issues taboo in conservative Egyptian society.
  • Chinese Women’s Health Network (China) for standing up to government regulation with an underground adaptation of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” after its first edition was censored.
  • Gender Alliance for Development Center (Albania) for reaching youth with information and skills they can use to make safe reproductive and sexual choices.
  • Groupe de Recherche sur les Femmes et les Lois au Senegal (GREFELS) for empowering women to understand and care for their natural bodies in Senegal, a country where beauty is often defined by largeness and fair skin.
  • Mavi Kalem (Turkey) for ingeniously using in-person and online platforms to engage and mentor young activists in the region.
  • National Women’s Studies and Information Centre (Moldova) for envisioning and helping lay the groundwork for a national struggle for human rights.
  • Network of East-West Women (Poland) for nurturing one of the largest and most respected networks of human rights activists in the region.
  • The “Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas” collaboration for articulating unique and common ground in the experiences of Latinas across the Caribbean, North, Central and South America.
  • Sanlaap (India) and Manavi (United States) for responding to violence in South Asian communities in both countries and creating a Bangla “Our Bodies, Ourselves” – a first for Bengali literature!
  • Shokado (Japan) for reclaiming language and sexuality for all Japanese women and girls by coining new terms for body parts previously written with Chinese characters that convey shame.
  • Tanzania Home Economics Association (Tanzania) for developing a Kiswahili resource based on “Our Bodies, Ourselves” that will reach the entire East Africa region.
  • Tibetan Nuns Project (India) for protecting, educating and empowering Tibetan nuns fleeing persecution and living in exile (and poverty) in India.
  • Women and Their Bodies (Israel) for pioneering a peace-building initiative between Palestinian and Israeli women that is publishing Arabic and Hebrew adaptations of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”
  • Women for Empowerment, Development, and Gender Reform (Nigeria) for bringing health information based on “Our Bodies, Ourselves” to 1.5 million women, girls and men.
  • Women’s Health Education Network (Thailand) for noting there is no word for “sexuality” in Thai and having the courage to talk about it.
  • Women’s Health Project (South Africa) for boldly tackling the impact of apartheid on women and girls in its “Women’s Health Handbook.”
  • Women’s Health Promotion Center (Serbia) for giving voice and visibility to women and girls brutalized by ethnic conflict and resulting sexual violence.
  • Women’s Health Initiative (Bulgaria) for confronting stigma associated with childlessness in a pro-natalist society and demanding supportive infertility treatment for women who desire children.
  • Women’s Health in Saint Petersburg (Russia) for helping to establish the first family planning center in Russia and youth clinics that use the Russian adaptation of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” as a key resource.
  • Women’s Rehabilitation Center (Nepal) for refusing to back down on its demand for reproductive rights in the recently democratized country’s new constitution.
  • Women Unlimited (India) for being one of few South Asian feminist publishers and for publishing an “Our Bodies, Ourselves” edition for women and girls across the region.

It is impossible to capture the diversity of our network partners, the richness of their vision and the magnitude of their impact in a short post. We invite you to meet some of these courageous women at the free symposium on Oct. 1, celebrating OBOS’s 40th anniversary and honoring our network partners. View more event details at

Ayesha Chatterjee is the assistant program manager of the Our Bodies Ourselves Global Initiative.

July 21, 2011

Share Your “Our Bodies, Ourselves” Story and Win a Free Book!

We’ve been gathering stories all this year (read ‘em!), and we’d like to expand the incredible story collection to include videos. Here’s your chance to tell audiences about your OBOS experience.

The details:

1) Record your video response.

2) Answer one or two of these questions:
• When did you first find out about or read “Our Bodies, Ourselves”? What did you learn from reading it?
• What impact has “Our Bodies, Ourselves” had on your life?
• How would you say “Our Bodies, Ourselves” has impacted women’s lives/rights? How has it impacted the way men and women relate to each other?
• What role do you think “Our Bodies, Ourselves” should play in the world today?
• What is the biggest challenge for women’s health today?
• Where do you think women’s health stands today compared to 40 years ago? What has changed? Where do we go from here?
• What crazy/unexpected/funny/revealing thing did YOUR mother (aunt, sister, etc.) say to you because of “Our Bodies, Ourselves”?
• If there was one thing you could say to people watching this video about the importance of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” what would it be?
• OR, come up with your own question!

3) Wish us a happy birthday!

4) Send us an email at so we can send you a release form and information about uploading your video to our dropbox account.

Only videos with accompanying release forms will be shown online and at OBOS’s 40th anniversary symposium in Boston on Oct. 1 (read more about the symposium here — you’re all invited!).

Don’t want to go on camera? We’re also continuing to publish written submissions from women and men (check out this new story from a father of two young girls who describes being “paradoxically humbled and empowered” by “Our Bodies, Ourselves” when he was in college).

All video and written submissions will be entered into a drawing for a free, signed copy of the newly revised ninth edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” due out on Oct. 1. Previously submitted stories will automatically be entered. Three winners will be announced on or around Oct. 1, 2011.

Questions? Email Thanks for considering this, and please share the news!