International Day of Action for Women’s Health

International Day of Action for Women’s Health

by Ishwarya Thyagarajan on May 27 2019 5:13 PM
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  • The International Day of Action for Women’s Health is observed on the 28th May of every year, campaigns for women’s rights in their sexual and reproductive health
  • The day emphasizes on empowering and respecting the choices, recognizing the needs and realizing the rights of women around the world
The International Day of Action for Women’s Health has been observed since 1987 following an International Women’s Health Meeting in Costa Rica. It was in that meeting that the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network (LACWHN) intended to celebrate May 28th as the International Day of Action for Women’s Health annually. As women’s health takes the center stage on this day, numerous activities are organized worldwide by women’s groups and healthcare organizations.
The day acts as a reminder to the governments of all countries, their health ministries, international agencies and other government and private institutions of their commitment to women’s health and rights.


Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)

LACWHN, being the leading regional network took up the responsibility of the May 28 campaign at the regional level. Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), on the other hand, is the network that leads the campaign on the global level. Both the networks, with their core active members have been coordinating the campaigns.

Established in 1984 in the Netherlands, WGNRR has been campaigning for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights for more than 30 years now. With its headquarters currently in Manila, WGNRR also consults for the United Nations (UN). WGNRR has around 450 organizational members around the globe and presence in about 105 countries.

WGNRR aims to realize the full sexual and reproductive health and rights of all people, with a focus on the marginalized. All the activities of the WGNRR are carried out within the rights, justice and feminist frameworks.

WGNRR was also responsible for re-launching the May 28 campaign in 2014, highlighting the 30 years of activism and issues that remained unaddressed. WGNRR has also developed a website as a platform for its campaign partners and participants to share their thoughts in the forms of blogs and articles.


Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of Women

Violence and discrimination, and violation of sexual and reproductive rights of women in both domestic and institutional settings continue to remain unaddressed despite several campaigns.

Safe and legal abortions, sterilizations, pre-and post-natal care, safe birthing and access to contraceptives are areas seriously lacking attention. Alabama’s recent near-total abortion ban is an apt example. On the occasion of the International Day of Action for Women’s Health, networks like WGNRR urge women and other major stakeholders to demand the basic rights to be recognized.

With the ‘#MeToo’ movement and likes garnering attention, it is time for women to speak out, seek support and join hands to spread the message.


Campaigns So Far

So far the campaigns have been Calls for Action, an annual a collaborative effort of the LACWHN and WGNRR. The following are a few topics that have been addressed so far:
  • Access to Quality Health Care
  • Feminization of Poverty
  • Access to Safe and Legal Abortion
  • Government Accountability in Prioritizing Health Markets
  • Health Sector Reform and Women’s Health
  • Women and HIV/AIDS
  • International Trade Agreements and Women’s Access to Health
  • VAW as a Global Health Emergency
  • Young People’s SRHR
  • Access to Contraceptives

Social Media for Campaigning

Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram could be used to mobilize support and spread the message effectively by using the communication toolkit available. #May28, #WomensHealthMatters, #OurHealthOurRights’ are the hashtags that could be used. Posters and cover photos with impactful messages have been designed for use in social media.

This International Day of Action for Women’s Health, it is time for women to speak up and fight for their choices and needs to be recognized and realized.

  1. International Day of Action for Women's Health  - (
  2. Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights WGNRR - ( )