The First Decade: 1969-1979
Twelve women meet during a female liberation conference in Boston. At a workshop on “women and their bodies,” they talk about their own experiences with doctors and share their self-knowledge. They later decide to research and share information about women’s bodies and health.
The group puts together a 193-page course booklet on stapled newsprint, titled “Women and Their Bodies.”
The authors change the name of the book to “Our Bodies, Ourselves” to emphasize women taking full ownership of their bodies. Republished by New England Free Press, the book puts women’s health in a radically new political and social context and quickly becomes an underground success. It sells 250,000 copies, mainly by word-of-mouth.
The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective formally incorporates in order to negotiate a contract for publication with Simon & Schuster. The contract includes a 70 percent discount for health clinics, a clause that is included in every subsequent contract, as well as funding for a Spanish language translation of the book.
Simon & Schuster publishes the first commercial edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
The book is translated into Italian and Japanese.
A Danish edition is published.
A revised and updated version of Our Bodies, Ourselves is published. A national bestseller, it is recognized by the American Library Association’s Young Adult Service Division as one of the best books of the decade.
A French edition is published.
The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, in collaboration with Leonor Taboada and Raquel Scherr Salgado, self-publishes “Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas,” a Spanish translation of Our Bodies, Ourselves. About 50,000 copies were distributed throughout the United States and Latin America.
An English (British) edition is published.
An update of Our Bodies, Ourselves is published.
The Second and Third Decades: 1979-1999
The success of Our Bodies, Ourselves necessitates a more formal organizational structure for the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective. The group transitions away from a collective to a nonprofit organization.
German and Swedish editions published.
OBOS begins collaborating with Amigas Latinas en Accion pro-Salud to develop health materials by and for Latinas. The program is later renamed the Latina Health Initiative.
Greek and Netherlands editions published.
An Israeli edition is published.
A revised version of the original, The New Our Bodies, Ourselves is published.
A Japanese adaption of Our Bodies, Ourselves is published.
“A Hundred Thousand Questions about Women’s Health” a book in Telugu inspired by Our Bodies, Ourselves, is published.
The New Our Bodies, Ourselves: Updated and Expanded for the 90s is published.
A Russian edition is published.
South African (English) and Thai editions are published. The 1992 U.S. edition is re-issued with a new cover and a new preface by Byllye Avery, Helen Rodriguez-Trias, and Gloria Steinem, in honor of the 25th anniversary of publication.
Our Bodies, Ourselves for the New Century is published.
A Chinese adaptation is published.
The first OBOS website launches.
The first installment of BWHBC/Our Bodies Ourselves records are given to the Schlesinger Library for their collection on women’s health.
The Fourth and Fifth Decades: 2000 – Present
Women’s groups from around the world continue to adapt Our Bodies, Ourselves into print and digital formats. OBOS launches two single-topic books.
A revised and culturally adapted edition of “Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas,” created by Latinas in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and representing 19 different organizations, is published.
Judy Norsigian, a founder of the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, becomes executive director.
Three cultural adaptations of Our Bodies, Ourselves are published by OBOS’s Global Network members:
The Armenian Charitable Foundation on Population Development in Yerevan publishes an Armenian adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
The Women’s Health Initiative in Bulgaria publishes a Bulgarian adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
The Autonomous Women’s Center Against Sexual Violence in Belgrade publishes a Serbian adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
Because most people associate the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective with the book Our Bodies, Ourselves, the organization begins to do business under the name Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS). The legally incorporated name remains the same.
In Moldova, the National Women’s Studies and Informational Center publishes a Romanian adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
The Our Bodies Ourselves Latina Health Initiative develops “Promotoras de Salud,” a peer health-educator training guide based on “Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas.”
Network of East-West Women in Gdańsk publishes a Polish adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
Groupe de Recherche sur les Femmes et les Lois au Senegal publishes an adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves in French for sub-Saharan Africa.
Anveshi in India reprints its Telegu edition in English to reach a wider audience in the country.
Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era is published.
Alternative Culture Publishing in South Korea releases a Korean adaptation.
The Tibetan Nuns Project in India publishes an adaptation titled “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind,” with a foreword by the Dalai Lama.
OBOS produces its first single-topic book, “Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause.”
Our Bodies, Our Blog, a daily blog on women’s health news and public policy, launches.
A reprint of the 2004 French inspired-edition (for French-speaking Africa) is released in Senegal.
In Albania, the Gender Alliance for Development Center publishes an Albanian adaptation.
The OBOS Latina Health Initiative, along with Childbirth Connection, produces “De Camino a la Maternidad,” the Spanish language version of Journey to Parenthood: Your Guide Through Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond.
The Tibetan Nuns Project in India publishes an English translation of the Tibetan adaptation.
Women’s Health in St. Petersburg publishes an online Russian adaptation.
OBOS produces its second single-topic book, “Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth.”
In Nepal, the Women’s Rehabilitation Center publishes booklets based on Our Bodies, Ourselves in Nepali to use in nationwide self-care workshops.
In India, Women Unlimited publishes an adapted English text of Our Bodies, Ourselves for distribution throughout South Asia.
In India, Sanlaap collaborates with Manavi, a U.S.-based organization, to publish a Bengali booklet adapted from Our Bodies, Ourselves for India and Bangladesh.
In Armenia, “For Family and Health” Pan-Armenian Association publishes “We and Our Body” to encourage Armenian women to engage in peer-advocacy for sustaining good health for themselves and their communities.
The ninth edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves is published. Library Journal names it one of the Best Books of the Year in the consumer health category.
OBOS hosts a global symposium in Boston, Our Bodies, Our Future: Advancing Health and Human Rights for Women and Girls, in celebration of its 40th anniversary and its Global Network partners.
Our Bodies, Ourselves is recognized by Time magazine as one of the best 100 nonfiction books (in English) since 1923, when the magazine started.
Women and Their Bodies in Israel simultaneously launches Hebrew and Arabic adaptations of Our Bodies, Ourselves through a peace-building initiative of Jewish and Palestinian Israeli women.
OBOS’s Global Network partners in Africa continue to turn content adapted from Our Bodies, Ourselves into Yoruba and Pidgin English and Kiswahili to use in innovative outreach efforts throughout Nigeria and Tanzania.
Our Bodies, Ourselves is one of 88 books included in the 2012 Library of Congress exhibition “Books that Shaped America,” a list of important works “intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives.”
A new Danish adaptation is published.
In Vietnam, the Institute for Social Development Studies publishes a three-volume health series based on Our Bodies, Ourselves for healthcare providers across the country.
More than 500,000 people each month visit the Our Bodies Ourselves website to find trustworthy and accurate information on women’s health and sexuality.
After years of struggling, OBOS board, founders and staff come to the painful conclusion that the organization doesn’t have the resources and infrastructure to continue its main programs using paid staff. Instead, OBOS transitions to a largely volunteer-led organization that continues to advocate for reproductive and social justice and provides limited technical support to global partners working on translation/adaptation projects.
La CORPS Féministe, a Quebec-based group, creates a French adaptation of the relationships and sexuality chapters Our Bodies, Ourselves for women in Canada.
Le collectif Notre corps, nous-mêmes, group based in Paris, publishes a new French adaptation.
The first volume of Nossos Corpos por Nós Mesmas, a Brazilian Portuguese adaptation, is published.
In collaboration with Our Bodies Ourselves, the Center for Women’s Health & Human Rights at Suffolk University launches the new Our Bodies Ourselves Today platform, which features high quality, curated resources on the health and sexuality of women, girls, and gender expansive people.