Informed by the history of the International Women and Health Meetings (IWHMs), this course investigates the political vision and organizational structure for women’s health movements around the world. It contrasts early strategies driven by coalitions of activists from the North, which focused on reproductive rights, self-help, and a definition of health based largely in the physiology of women’s bodies with approaches advanced by activists from the global South, which attend to the social, cultural, and economic factors that affect women’s access to the most basic healthcare. This course examines contemporary feminist conceptions of health grounding in a comprehensive framework attentive to international power dynamics, globalization, macroeconomic policy, national and global poverty, conflict and war, and debt crises in various countries. The class analyzes the political tactics and strategies women have devised to secure access to healthcare for themselves, their families, households and communities. Introducing students to the global institutions, organizations, and policies that impact health, course material also traces how women’s nongovernmental organizations have attempted to transform existing institutions and policies of global health governance to enable women in all regions of the world to lead physiologically, psychologically, and emotionally healthier, more dignified lives.
1) Introduce basic concepts and themes fundamental to women’s health movements;
2) Introduce methodological frameworks and approaches to critiquing current and past social and economic policies;
3) Promote critical thinking and your understanding of the definition of health and its position in social, economic, and political conflicts;
4) Elucidate the role of gender, race, ethnicity, and class in health;
5) Develop analytical, writing, and presentation skills.