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Sexual Anatomy, Reproduction, and the Menstrual Cycle

In Translation: My Body is Mine

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.
Mavi Kalem badge Group: Mavi Kalem

Country: Turkey

Resource: Bedenlerimiz Biziz (Our Bodies Are Us), a Turkish adaptation  of Our Bodies, Ourselves

Websites: bedenimveben.org, mavikalem.org

This striking badge, created by Our Bodies Ourselves’ partner Mavi Kalem in Turkey, reads, “My Body Is Mine.” Distributed by and to young women, along with a pamphlet outlining rights fundamental to health and well-being, it is part of a campaign celebrating sexual and reproductive freedom that has reached nearly twelve thousand women and girls.

According to Mavi Kalem, there are no comprehensive health resources in Turkish. Health information, when available, is shaped by conservative cultural ideas on fertility and childbearing, and focuses on pregnancy, birth control, and sexually transmitted infections. It is difficult to find a resource that analyzes the health and rights of women and girls from their points of view. This forces many to seek information through unofficial channels—friends, older relatives, and mothers—that is not always accurate.

Established in the aftermath of the devastating Marmara earthquake in 1999, Mavi Kalem is committed to the free flow of information and draws on the power of volunteers to drive social and political change. The organization delivers health resources to millions of women, girls, and men, via grassroots workshops, print materials, and discussion groups, both online and in person. Mavi Kalem’s website is a unique collaborative and lobbying tool for a growing activist network in the region. The organization also publishes a free monthly women’s health magazine, Zuhre, which is extremely popular in Turkey and Cyprus.

In the spring of 2011, Mavi Kalem published a Turkish adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves titled Bedenlerimiz Biziz. The book explores the social norms, laws, traditional practices, and religious edicts that make it difficult for Turkish women and girls to exercise their rights. The authors want readers to say, “I read a book and it changed my life.”

Excerpted from the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. © 2011, Boston Women's Health Book Collective. Read other "In Translation" sidebars about women's groups from around the world who are adapting Our Bodies, Ourselves and creating resources to advance the health and human rights of women and girls in their countries. Find out more about Mavi Kalem


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