Women and Their Bodies (1970)


Those of us who founded Our Bodies Ourselves (formerly known as the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective) began as a fluid, informal group of white, mostly college-educated women. We met in the greater Boston area to talk about our lives, including reproductive health and sexuality concerns that we had never before discussed publicly. We never planned to write a book. We believed then as we do now that there is no substitute for a small group of women – in a spirit of mutual trust and respect – speaking and listening to the truth of our own lived experiences. In coming together as women concerned about our health, we were honoring and valuing our own experiences. We learned from one another. As we undertook our own investigative research and sought information from doctors who would talk to us, we began to develop an analysis of health and medical issues small and large. We began to understand that we are not alone — that what happens to us as individuals is often determined by larger social, cultural, political and economic factors. We developed papers about the health issues most pressing to each of us and presented them during a 10-week course titled Women and Their Bodies. During this series of gatherings in Cambridge, women came together to learn and talk about their lives. Many of them went on to form and lead other such groups and eventually to participate in writing the first version of ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves.’ The rest is history. ‘Our Bodies, Ourselves” quickly became a bestseller, soon traveled the globe and is now in its ninth edition. Women’s groups in dozens of countries have translated and adapted the text to meet their own needs. The book has been produced in 30 languages, most recently in Vietnamese — we are already hearing about its impact — and Farsi is next. … We founders still meet often and we realize the work we started is far from done. Now we are joining with hundreds of colleagues and friends to ensure that Our Bodies Ourselves will continue to meet the needs of today’s women and girls. In this digital age, the organization focuses on providing crucial health information online and via other distribution platforms. With your help, OBOS will provide readers with even more high-quality, fact-based resources and stories of women’s experiences. …”
Our Bodies, Ourselves: We Sparked a Women’s Health Movement by Speaking and Listening to the Truth
Our Bodies, Ourselves: The Nine U.S. Editions
Our Bodies, Ourselves
The Women’s Health Movement


Founding members of Our Bodies Ourselves in the late 1960s

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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