40th Anniversary Symposium: Advancing Health and Human Rights for Women and Girls

Logo for Celebrating 40 Years of Our Bodies Ourselves

In 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves celebrated its 40th anniversary with a new edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” and an international symposium on women’s health: Our Bodies, Our Future: Advancing Health and Human Rights for Women and Girls.

The symposium, held at Boston University’s Tsai Performance Center on Oct. 1, 2011, included a dozen of OBOS’s global partners — women’s groups who have adapted the book for their own countries.

Representatives came from Armenia, Bulgaria, India, Israel (representing Jewish and Palestinian communities), Japan, Moldova, Nepal, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Serbia, Tanzania and Turkey (read their bios below). They shared their extraordinary journeys transforming “Our Bodies, Ourselves” into different formats and languages and, along with the U.S. participants, discussed the successes, failures and challenges of the global women’s health movement.

The symposium was streamed live and recorded; click on a name or panel title below to watch a specific video. You can also see a list of all of the videos from the day and view the full program guide.

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This event would not have been possible without the generous support of the Archibald Family Foundation, Boston University, Ford Foundation, Carolyn Mugar, and Partners HealthCare.
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Jaclyn Friedman
Executive Director, Women, Action & the Media (WAM!)


Gov. Patrick Deval
Massachusetts Governor

Robert Meenan
Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health

Judy Norsigian and Zobeida Bonilla
OBOS executive director and OBOS Latina health initiative coordinator


Byllye Avery
Our Bodies Ourselves: Shifting Consciousness, Shaping Lives – A Testimonial
Bylley Avery is founder of the Avery Institute for Social Change and the Black Women’s Health Imperative (formerly the National Black Women’s Health Project).

Adrienne Germain
Our Bodies, Our Future: Challenges and Opportunities for Our Health and Human Rights
Adrienne Germain is president emerita of the International Women’s Health Coalition.


Sam Morgan Lilienfeld and Judah Rome
The sons of OBOS founders Pamela Morgan and Esther Rome speak about growing up with feminist mothers.

Sally Whelan
Sally Whelan, program director for the OBOS Global Initiative, discusses the efforts involved working with groups around the world that are adapting “Our Bodies, Ourselves” for their own communities.

Ayesha Chatterjee
Ayesha Chatterjee, program manager for the OBOS Global Initiative, introduces the organization’s global partners.


Loretta Ross
Loretta Ross is the founder and national coordinator of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.



Around the Kitchen Table – The Making of “Our Bodies, Ourselves”
This panel explores the journey of Our Bodies Ourselves and the organization’s global partners–illustrating how women come together around the “Our Bodies, Ourselves” text to share stories; reclaim and change the language of women’s bodies, sexuality and rights; and create and use culturally unique resources based on the book as tools for information and action in their own communities.

– Kathy Davis, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
– Bonnie Shepard, Social Sectors Development Strategies Inc., USA

– Christine Cupaiuolo, Our Bodies Ourselves (USA)
– Asia Kapande, Tanzania Home Economics Association (Tanzania)
– Gamze Karadag, Mavi Kalem (Turkey)
– Miho Ogino, Doshisha University Graduate School (Japan)


Fire in the Belly – Meeting Challenges to Autonomy and Activism
This panel focuses on the challenges women face to individual rights and social activism, ranging from direct, systemic and overt forms of violence to practices that are more insidious and/or enjoy widespread social appeal or silence. The panelists illustrate the ways OBOS’s global partners and domestic allies respond to the issues and target the cultural, social and political context within which these issues operate.

Anne Firth Murray. Founding President, Global Fund for Women, USA

– Codou Bop, Groupe de Recherche sur les Femmes et les Lois au Senegal (Senegal)
– Meri Khachikyan, “For Family and Health” Pan-Armenian Association (Armenia)
– Renu Rajbhandari, Women’s Rehabilitation Center (Nepal)
– Nirvan Gonzalez Rosa, Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network (Puerto Rico)
– Dana Weinberg, Women and Their Bodies (Israel)


Building Power, Brokering Change
This panel discusses power-brokers who influence cultural, social, religious and political norms that impact the status and well-being of women and girls, including men and family matriarchs as well as religious leaders, community elders and heads of academic institutions and government. The panelists demonstrate the grassroots and institutional activism of OBOS’s global partners and domestic allies working to ensure human rights and equal participation of women and girls inside and outside the home.

– George Annas, Boston University School of Public Health, USA
– Catherine Annas, Eastern Massachusetts Healthcare Initiative, USA

– Dana Edell, SPARK and viBe Theater Experience (USA)
– Raghda Alnabilsy, Women and Their Bodies (Israel)
– Shamita Das Dasgupta, Sanlaap and Manavi (India and USA)
– Stanislava Otasevic, Women’s Health Promotion Center (Serbia)
– Irina Todorova, Women’s Health Initiative in Bulgaria


Codou Bop / Groupe de Recherche sur les Femmes ET les Lois au Senegal
Codou Bop 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 Das Dasgupta 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 Alnabilsy 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 Kapande 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 anakkale in Turkey, Gamze Karadag 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 Khachikyan 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 Ogino 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 Otasevic 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 Rajbhandari, 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 Gonzalez Rosa 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 Todorova 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 Wienberg, 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.