General Interest

The Status of Women’s Health

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Roni Caryn Rabin writes in the NY Times this week about the most recently released study about the status of women’s health in this country – with an article entitled “Study Finds Setbacks in Women’s Health.” More women are binge drinking, downing “five or more drinks at a single occasion in the past month;” and more are obese, diabetic, and hypertensive. To top it off, more are testing positive for the sexually transmitted disease, chlamydia.

In her article, Ms. Rabin quotes Dr. Michelle Berlin, who is associate director of the University of Oregon’s Center for Women’s Health. Dr. Berlin says, “We’ve had 10 years of doing this report card, and you would hope the needle would have moved more than it has.”

I have no idea why Dr. Berlin would have expected the needle “to move more” positively. Hasn’t she, haven’t you, had a serious look at the lives of women in this country. To sum it up, women in this country are under-appreciated and under-supported. They (we) are overworked, underpaid, overstressed, and quite frankly, simply exhausted. We are mothers AND breadwinners AND chauffeurs AND counselors AND (expected to be) volunteers AND our aging parents’ caregivers AND…AND…AND… . People just keep on throwing their (expletive deleted) in our direction, and we’re expected to just keep piling it onto to our huge mountain of obligations. So, come on now, Dr. Berlin, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem!

I ran into a fast food place a couple of evenings ago. There were at least 4 mothers there with their broods in tow. Yes, in our deepest hearts, we all know the food is not good for you and that eating this stuff contributes to our obesity and diabetes. Yet, I took a long, hard, serious look at these women. Each of them looked so tired. At what ungodly hour did their mornings start – followed by a stressful commute to work, followed by 8 hours of fulfilling???? labor, to be followed by a dash to the children’s school and/or daycare provider. And then she’s supposed to go home and play June Cleaver in front of a stove? Unlikely. So, here she is. And perhaps, after her kiddies are finally off to bed, and she’s finishing up the laundry and sweeping the floor, she may pour herself a drink, or two, … or five.

I don’t condone it, I don’t excuse it. That said, though, I understand it. Today’s “typical” woman is spouse, mother, caregiver, employee, laundress, house cleaner, messenger – all rolled into one. The Dr. Berlin’s of this world need to understand what that truly means in terms of day-to-day mind-numbing survival. Without that understanding we will never craft�a successful�solution to the women’s health issue, and our women so desperately need that solution.

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