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Boston Women's Health Book Collective

The Translators and Spies of the Reproductive Rights Movement

This Women’s History Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive is celebrating the thousands of Jewish women who have participated in activism and resistance in the United States. We all know the names of the most famous women who shaped these movements, from Gloria Steinem to Emma Goldman: the women with the megaphones, with the loud voices and stirring speeches, the women whose names made it into the history books. But one person alone can never make a movement.

Esther Rome

A co-author of Our Bodies, Ourselves, Esther Rome not only educated women about their health but led the fight for public awareness of the dangers of products ranging from tampons to breast implants.

Nancy Miriam Hawley

Nancy Miriam Hawley helped found the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, Inc., the organization responsible for writing the best seller Our Bodies, Ourselves, which empowered women to take control of their own health care.

So hot right now: Vagina is the new black

The word “vagina” is having a cultural moment, according to Rebecca Keegan of the Los Angeles Times. Once unmentionable, the word is popping up in movies, TV shows, magazine covers, and political debates. The Beauty Myth author Naomi Wolf's new book, Vagina: A New Biography, will be out in September, 2012. I don't mean to brag, but Jewish women deserve a lot of credit for bringing this once-hushed word to the fore.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: The Manual and The Mystery

The subject of a woman’s body, even in its most intimate functions, was not taboo in the orthodox Jewish world of my upbringing.

"New York Times" reviews "Our Bodies, Ourselves"

March 13, 1973

The "New York Times" reviewed the first edition of "Our Bodies, Ourselves." Nine of the 12 women who first formed the collective that created this groundbreaking women's health reference were Jewish.

Esther Rome

A coauthor of Our Bodies, Ourselves, a classic women’s resource book, Esther Rome came of age with the onset of the modern feminist movement and was a leader in shaping modern American notions of self-help and advocacy for women’s physical and mental health.

Health Activism, American Feminist

American women have been the “perennial health care reformers.” According to Carol Weisman, professor of Health Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health: “Activism around women’s health has tended to occur in waves and to coincide with other social reform movements, including peaks in the women’s rights movements.” At all of those pivotal moments, Jewish women have played central roles.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Boston Women's Health Book Collective." (Viewed on December 15, 2017) <https://jwa.org/tags/boston-womens-health-book-collective>.

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