History: OBOS Global Network Meetings

The OBOS Global Network is more than a group of women’s organizations that have or are in the process of adapting “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” The members are considered partners in social change, working to improve the health and well-being of women and girls around the world.

For years, the Our Bodies Ourselves Global Initiative worked closely with all partners to facilitate a network-wide exchange of ideas, skills and resources. With groups working on almost every continent, most communication takes place online. In 2018, due to financial constraints, Our Bodies Ourselves transitioned to a primarily volunteer-led nonprofit, and OBOS was forced to cut back on its global work. However, we are still able to provide guidance and support to global groups or individuals who wish to translate and adapt “Our Bodies, Ourselves.”

The OBOS Global Network has held three in-person gatherings since 2001:

Strategic Planning: 40th Anniversary of Our Bodies Ourselves (2011)
In 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves celebrated its 40th anniversary with the release of the ninth edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” and an international women’s health symposium at Boston University. The event celebrated the individual Global Network partners and their work transforming the book into different formats and languages.

Following the symposium, OBOGI staff organized a two-day strategic planning retreat for a dozen Global Network members. The third of such meetings, the retreat was an important opportunity for Global Network members to get to know one another, and to discuss issues fundamental to the groups’ individual and collective activism going forward.

Members Report: 9th International Women and Health Meeting (2002)
Building on the 2001 meeting, OBOS Global Network members used the opportunity of the 9th International Women and Health Meeting in Toronto to present their cultural adaptations of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” to the wider women’s health community.

Their IWHM workshop featured two segments: The Transformation of Our Bodies, Ourselves Worldwide and A Book as a Tool for Action. Network members also organized an internal meeting to share strategies and plan for the future.

The First Meeting: The Netherlands (2001)
In 2001, women’s organizations adapting “Our Bodies, Ourselves” for their own countries gathered in the Netherlands for a three-day meeting to get acquainted, share strategies, and provide mutual support. The meeting was the first-ever opportunity for members of OBOS Global Network to come to know the faces and voices of collaborating partners (known until then only through email).

Members swapped stories about the making and remaking of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” around the world, and shared their experiences developing content and creating outreach and advocacy initiatives.