Beginning in 1970 with the publication of the first edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” OBOS has inspired the women’s health movement by:
- Producing books and web content that make accurate health and medical information accessible to a broad audience by weaving women’s stories into a framework of practical, clearly written text;
- Identifying and collaborating with exemplary individuals and organizations that provide services, generate research and policy analysis, and organize for social change;
- Inspiring and empowering women to become engaged in the political aspects of sustaining good health for themselves and their communities.
OBOS introduced these key ideas into the public discourse on women’s health:
- Women, as informed health consumers, are catalysts for social change.
- Women can become their own health experts, particularly through discussing issues of health and sexuality with each other.
- Health consumers have a right to know about controversies surrounding medical practices and about where consensus among medical experts may be forming.
- Women comprise the largest segment of health workers, health consumers, and health decision-makers for their families and communities, but are underrepresented in positions of influence and policy making.
- A pathology/disease approach to normal life events (birthing, menopause, aging, death) is not an effective way in which to consider health or structure a health system.
In April 2018, the board, founders and staff of Our Bodies Ourselves came to the difficult decision that the organization no longer had the resources or infrastructure to continue its main programs using paid staff. OBOS is now a volunteer-led 501(c)3 that focuses on two primary activities: advocating for women’s health and social justice and providing limited technical support to OBOS’s global partners working on translation/adaptation projects. For more information, see Our Work Today.
To learn more about the history of the organization and the work of OBOS, see: