More than 45 years ago, we — the founders of Our Bodies Ourselves — first met to talk about our lives, our health, and our bodies. We had never discussed these intimate issues publicly. We came to believe then, as we do now, that there is no substitute for a small group of women, in the spirit of mutual trust and respect, listening, speaking, and honoring the truth of our own lived experiences.
Through our conversations and ensuing research, we developed a course via a newsprint book to keep our conversations going. That first book became “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” which has since been updated and reissued in nine editions over four decades and adapted into more than 30 languages, selling close to 5 million copies overall.
At present, we are a vibrant, active founders group deeply involved with the future of the Our Bodies Ourselves organization (OBOS). The work we started is far from done. We are appalled at the recent election rhetoric that advocates a serious undermining of women’s rights, revealing dangerously sexist and racist attitudes. We are bracing ourselves to fight attempts to reverse advances in basic reproductive and human rights, from birth control and abortion to sexual and gender identity.
There is a powerful need for intergenerational dialogue. Together we can build on past achievements, define current essential issues, and advocate for women’s health and rights, bringing marginalized matters into public discourse. (Keep an eye out for the first edition of our new monthly enewsletter, which will feature a dialogue between co-founder Norma Swenson and our newest (and youngest) staff member Melanie Floyd, shown at right.)
In our passionate advocacy for reproductive rights and justice, OBOS has always recognized the need for society to respect the rights of all women. As women of childbearing age navigate new and more complicated options in reproductive technologies, we are excited about the December launch of Surrogacy360, OBOS’s new website on international commercial surrogacy.
In addition, OBOS’s website has been and will continue to be a unique, trustworthy source of reliable information for women and girls worldwide. Our feminist critique and critical viewpoint counteract the internet’s excess of misinformation based on biased commercial interests. From its inception, OBOS has refused pharmaceutical corporate funding.
As co-authors of the book “Our Bodies, Ourselves” and founders of the non-profit OBOS organization, we are thrilled to have Julie Childers, our new executive director, aboard. Together, we will create OBOS’s “next “chapter” as we will build on our collective vision and values. We will continue to meet the needs of women, girls and families. And we will empower new multicultural generations to work for reproductive and sexual health within a feminist, human rights and social justice framework.
We are, marvelously and against all odds, one of the few remaining organizations from the early days of the global women’s movement. In this, our 45th anniversary year, we want to ensure a flourishing future for OBOS. Please join us in giving as generously as you can.
Donate today to help OBOS protect women’s rights, fight for reproductive justice, challenge disinformation, and empower the next generation of women and girls.
Elizabeth MacMahon-Herrera, Jane Pincus, Joan Ditzion, Judy Norsigian, Miriam Hawley, Norma Swenson, Paula Doress-Worters, Pamela Berger, Ruth Alexander, Vilunya Diskin, Wendy Sanford