OBOS Hosts Global Symposium on Women's Health & Human Rights

Also on Oct. 1: Simon & Schuster Releases New, Updated Edition of the Bestselling Classic “Our Bodies, Ourselves”

BOSTON, Sept. 29, 2011 — Women’s health advocates from around the world will be in Boston on Oct. 1 for the 40th Anniversary celebration of the groundbreaking book “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

Our Bodies, Our Future: Advancing Health and Human Rights for Women and Girls, a free symposium, will take place at Boston University’s Tsai Peformance Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Twelve members of the Our Bodies Ourselves Global Initiative — representing Armenia, Bulgaria, India, Israel, Japan, Nepal, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Serbia, Tanzania and Turkey — will share their extraordinary journeys translating and adapting “Our Bodies, Ourselves” for their own communities and cultures (BIOS AVAILABLE BELOW).

Together with public policy and human rights experts, the speakers will highlight the most pressing issues that impact the health and safety of women and girls today and discuss ways to secure their full civic and political involvement.

Leaders from the organization Women and Their Bodies in Israel — a collaboration of Palestinian and Jewish Israeli women — will introduce their Arabic and Hebrew adaptations of “Our Bodies Ourselves” at the symposium.

“Just days ago, both books were publicly launched in Israel simultaneously to make an important social and political statement,” said Sally Whelan, program manager of the Our Bodies Ourselves Global Initiative.

The event will also feature contributors to the ninth U.S. edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” which will be released by Simon & Schuster on that same day and available for purchase. The book was recently named on of the 100 most influential books written in English since 1923 by Time Magazine.

“We are delighted to release this newly revised edition, with a special focus on reproductive health and sexuality, in celebration of our 40th anniversary,” said Judy Norsigian, Our Bodies Ourselves co-founder and executive director.

“More information is available today than when ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves’ was first published, but much of it is influenced by political and cultural bias. Even now, information about women’s health is incomplete or inaccurate. Girls and women of all ages need the vital and trustworthy content of this book,” adds Norsigian.

During the symposium, video stories will be on display showing women and men describing the book’s impact on their lives and their thoughts on the history and future of women’s health. There will also be a timeline showing 40 years of women’s health milestones along with corresponding political and cultural events.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston University School of Public Health Dean Robert Meenan will deliver opening remarks.

Note: Registration for the 600 seats closed early due to high demand. The symposium will be broadcast live online via Boston University’s Ustream channel. Viewers can watch starting at 9 a.m. on Oct. 1 at www.ourbodiesourselves.org/ustream, and viewing guides will be available online.

Speakers include:
Byllye Avery, Founder, Black Women’s Health Imperative
Adrienne Germain, President Emerita, International Women’s Health Coalition (Keynote)
Judy Norsigian, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Our Bodies Ourselves
Loretta Ross, Founder and National Coordinator, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective

Moderators include:
Catherine Annas, Director, Eastern Massachusetts Healthcare Initiative
George Annas, Chair, Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights at Boston University School of Public Health
Kathy Davis, Senior Researcher, Utrecht University in The Netherlands
Anne Firth Murray, Founding President, Global Fund for Women
Bonnie Shepard, Senior Planning and Evaluation Specialist, Social Sectors Development Strategies, Inc.

Event Emcee:
Jaclyn Friedman, Executive Director, Women, Action and the Media, and editor of the anthology “Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape.”

Underwriters of the symposium include the Archibald Family Foundation, Boston University, Ford Foundation, Carolyn Mugar, and Partners HealthCare.

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The following members of the OBOGI network will be available for interviews in the Boston area Friday, Sept. 30 through Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Codou Bop / Groupe de Recherche sur les Femmes ET les Lois au Senegal
Codou is a Senegalese activist for women’s human rights and democracy. Based in Dakar, she is the coordinator for the Groupe de Recherche sur les Femmes ET les Lois au Senegal (Research Group on Women and Laws in Senegal, or GREFELS) and a member of the African Feminist Forum. She has published extensively on women’s reproductive health, sexuality, and access to land, as well as on homophobia, gender-based violence, migration and citizenship.

Shamita Das Dasgupta / Manavi
Shamita is co-founder of Manavi, a New Jersey-based organization that focuses on violence against South Asian immigrant women and girls. She teaches at New York University Law School and is the author of four books: “Mothers for Sale” (2009); “Body Evidence” (2007); “A Patchwork Shawl” (1998); and “The Demon Slayers and Other Stories” (1995).

Raghda Alnabilsy / Women and Their Bodies
Raghda is a trained sex educator, lecturer and workshop facilitator. She manages projects implemented by Women and Their Bodies in Arab-Palestinian communities across Israel and is the editor of the Arabic adaptation of “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” She has a master’s degree in social work from Tel Aviv University and is currently working on her doctorate at the School of Social Work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Asia Kapande / Tanzania Home Economics Association
Asia joins us from Tanzania. She brings more than 40 years of leadership in food and environmental security, poverty reduction, health and gender equality. A professional home economist, she continues to make a difference through her work with the Tanzania Home Economics Association, the Nile Basin Discourse, the Tanzania Nile Discourse Forum, and several primary and secondary school committees.

Gamze Karadag / Mavi Kalem
A native of Canakkale in Turkey, Gamze joined Mavi Kalem as an intern in 2004 and became involved in the Turkish “Our Bodies, Ourselves” adaptation project in 2005. As the organization’s general coordinator, she continues to organize its volunteer and field teams, conduct health trainings for women in local communities, factories, and shelters, and contribute to its monthly women’s health magazine, Zuhre.

Meri Khachikyan / “For Family and Health” Pan-Armenian Association
Meri is founder and director of “For Family and Health” Pan-Armenian Association, which published an Armenian adaptation of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” in 2010. She has also served as senior researcher/chief of policlinic at the Armenian Research Center on Maternal and Child Health and coordinator of the Global Comprehensive Abortion Care Initiative at the IPPF European Network in Brussels.

Miho Ogino
Miho is professor of gender history and queer studies at Doshisha University Graduate School in Kyoto, Japan. She is a published author, most recently of “The Road to Family Planning: Reproductive Politics in Modern Japan” (2008). She was the chief translator/editor of the Japanese adaptation of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” (1988) and is currently writing about the women’s health movement in Japan and the United States.

Stanislava Otasevic / Women’s Health Promotion Center
Born in Belgrade, Stanislava has been a health and human rights activist for almost two decades. She co-founded the Women’s Health Promotion Center, co-authored a Serbian adaptation of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” authored the only manual for health workers in the country, and led a WHO multi-country study on violence. She also serves as an educator and lecturer.

Renu Rajbhandari / Women’s Rehabilitation Centre
Renu, a prominent women’s rights activist from Nepal, founded the Women’s Rehabilitation Centre in 1991. She has since led the organization’s work on trafficking and HIV/AIDS and is the recipient of an Ashoka Fellowship. She has also served as vice-chair to the NGO Federation of Nepal and as National Rapporteur on Trafficking of Women and Children to the National Human Rights Commission.

Nirvana Gonzalez Rosa
Born in Puerto Rico, Nirvana is co-founder of Taller Salud, the first feminist organization in the Caribbean, and coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network, which is based in Chile. She is also a member of the UNFPA International Advisory Committee on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and serves on the board of Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights.

Irina Todorova / Women’s Health Initiative in Bulgaria
Irina is a health psychologist and professor at the Center for Population Health and Health Disparities at Northeastern University. She is also past president of the European Health Psychology Society (EHPS) and EHPS representative to the United Nations. She co-founded the Women’s Health Initiative in Bulgaria, which published a Bulgarian adaptation of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” in 2001.

Dana Weinberg / Women and Their Bodies
Dana, the founder and director of Women and Their Bodies, is an Israel Venture Network Social Entrepreneur Fellow. She has a master’s degree in anthropology from Hebrew University. She has also served as director of the School for Political Leadership for Women at Wizo in Jerusalem and coordinator of the Lafer Center for Women and Gender Studies.