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The Politics of Women's Health

In Translation: Women's Rights Are Human Rights

The "In Translation" sidebars in the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves highlight the work of our global partners who develop health resources based on Our Bodies, Ourselves for their own communities.
 A WOREC community health worker
A WOREC community health provider in session.
Group: Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC)

Country: Nepal

Resource: Hamro Sharir, Hamro Ho (Our
Body, Ourselves
), a set of five Nepali
booklets based on Our Bodies, Ourselves

Website: worecnepal.org

Since 1991, Our Bodies Ourselves’ partner in Nepal, the Women’s Rehabilitation Center (WOREC), has been central to the country’s civic progress and political transition from a monarchy to a fledgling democracy. WOREC fights against many forms of gender violence, including early marriage and sexual trafficking, and promotes the health rights of women at both the community and the national level.

In 2007, WOREC was part of a coalition responsible for the inclusion of reproductive health rights in Nepal’s interim constitution, and it is now working to ensure that the same rights are included in the country’s final constitution. The group also worked with government officials on a national health strategy focused on women. More recently, WOREC collaborated with partners and policy makers on gender and violence training for twelve district governments and nonprofit organizations across the country.

The organization has published five booklets based on Our Bodies, Ourselves, adapted to the needs of women and girls in Nepal. Prior to publication, WOREC used the information in a nationwide outreach at health fairs, clinics, and health centers to educate women and girls about their bodies and the influence of cultural and social factors on their well-being.

Challenging the status quo in a deeply patriarchal society has often placed the organization’s members in danger. The group has advocated on behalf of rape survivors to bring perpetrators to justice and educated Dalits (a socially and economically disadvantaged group) on their right to fair wages.

Attacks on WOREC have included physical and sexual intimidation, verbal abuse, and death threats. With little support from law enforcement authorities, WOREC continues to put itself on the front line to bring health information to thousands of women and girls across the country.

The nature of WOREC’s work, coupled with ongoing intimidation and limited support, has often left members demoralized and isolated in their activism. This is sobering, and it demands renewed commitment to holding perpetrators accountable, so activists who defend women’s rights can do so with dignity and safety.

Excerpted from the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. © 2011, Boston Women's Health Book Collective. You can read other "In Translation" sidebars about women's groups who are adapting Our Bodies, Ourselves and creating resources to advance the health and human rights of women and girls in their countries.  Click here to read more about WOREC.


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