Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

February: Much More than Just Valentines Day!

The Women's Center sponsored two
information tables about Go Red today!
Thank you to our awesome volunteers 
who staffed them!

Tomorrow is National Go Red for Women Day, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and women. This yearly event is incredibly important because heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States and many of the women who die of heart disease each year could have lived if they'd just been educated on the causes and symptoms of heart disease.

In 2008 Kate Harding wrote an incredibly powerful article for Salon entitled, Heart Disease is a Feminist Issue. This article changed my way of thinking about heart disease in a major way, I really recommend taking ten minutes to read it! Here's an excerpt:

"Women's heart attack symptoms can be different from men's -- we might feel pain in the back, jaw or stomach instead of the chest, for instance, and the radiating pain down the left arm we all hear about doesn't show up as often in women. Why, I asked the doctor, had I never heard that before, at 25 years old? "Well," he said, "until about 20 years ago, they just didn't test much on women. The assumption was that it would be the same for them as for men."

Try that for a kick in the gut. They just didn't test much on women. Until, I guess, it occurred to the medical community that the No. 1 killer of women ought to be studied in women. Worse yet, the information they did have by the time my mom died wasn't even common knowledge for some reason -- and still isn't."

It's fitting that Go Red for Women day falls during February because February is Black History Month and black women (and other women of color) are disproportionately effected by heart disease. Doctors and activists all have different theories as to why this occurs including, a lack of education campaigns reaching these specific demographics and  decreased access to preventative care. Regardless of the reasoning, it is impossible to deny that there is a major disparity here that needs to be addressed:

African-American women are 35% more likely to die of heart disease than Caucasian women, while Hispanic women face heart disease nearly 10 years earlier than Caucasian women.

Statistics show that about 68% of white women know that heart disease is the leading killer of women, compared to only 31% of black women and 29% of Hispanic women.

CHECK OUT THE BLACK HISTORY MONTH EVENTS GOING ON @ RAMAPO! You have to do a little bit of digging to find them on the calendar but events include: a screening of the move "For Colored Girls" (2/18/11 and 2/20/11) and the Cotton Club at Ramapo (new date TBA).

February is also home to National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (2/ 21-2/25) which is an annual week of events that serve to bring awareness about eating disorders and support for people living with and in recovery from disorders. One of the after-effects of an Eating Disorder is higher risk for Heart Disease, so it is fitting that these two events occupy the same month. Check out the Women's Center blog and facebook for more information about EDAW as the week grows closer!


On a slightly less serious note February is also National Condom Month! Some hormonal birth controls can increase a woman's risk of heart disease, but condoms do not! Expect some fun posts about how to put a condom on properly, different kinds of unique condoms, and much more as the month continues. In the meantime remember condoms can be purchased any time the Women's Center is open for just 10 cents a piece!

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