14 Women’s Health Is a Community Issue
Think about involving men as well as women in
discussions about women’s health. It may seem difficult
to talk about women’s health problems with men,
because this kind of talk is considered taboo, or
‘women’s secrets’. But since men are often in positions
of power, their help can be very important. Look for
men who are supportive of women, are good role
models for boys, or who treat women as their equals.
How men can help
Any man can help improve women’s health by:
• raising his children to respect women, and treating boys and girls as equals.
• asking women what they think, and listening to them. A man can listen to his
partner’s and daughters’ concerns and needs, and see if together they can find a
way to meet the needs of everyone in the family.
• talking with his partner about how many children they each want to have, and
then taking equal responsibility for family planning.
• encouraging his partner to go for regular health exams, and helping find the
money and time for her to go.
• taking turns caring for the children and doing house work.
• being faithful to his partner or, if he cannot, being honest with her and practicing
safer sex when he is not with her. If a man ever gets an STI, he should tell all of
his sexual partners right away, so everyone can get treatment.
• encouraging his partner to take a fair share of the food that there is to eat—
even if nobody is getting very much.
• encouraging all of his children to stay in school as long as they can. The longer
they can stay in school, the more choices they will have as adults, and the better
their health will be.
A man can also set a good example in his community by:
• encouraging women in his community to come to meetings, and making sure
that they have a chance to speak. Or by encouraging women to hold their
own, separate meetings, where men will not speak.
• encouraging women to become involved in planning and running community
• encouraging others to limit their use of alcohol and drugs—these contribute
nothing to the community and waste money and energy. Try to plan
celebrations that do not involve alcohol.
• not tolerating any kind of violence against women.
• teaching children how to care for their physical, mental, and sexual health and
how to prevent common illnesses.
• working to change the image that a strong man is one who has sex with many
women. A strong man is a strong partner.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012