The women’s health movement started in the 1960s as an attempt to enlighten women about their bodies and sexuality but it stayed largely out the media and the limelight. Today, women’s health is an open and ongoing conversation, not just among women and doctors but in schools, on talk shows, and in the news.
Across the country, men are backing women’s health initiatives and are getting involved to raise money for and awareness about issues like ovarian and breast cancer and domestic violence.
Dave Graybill is a retired firefighter and professional baseball player who founded Pink Heals Inc.
Graybill wanted to start a non-profit to help individual communities support themselves and fight their own issues. He decided that rallying around women in those communities would be the most effective way to bring aid and support to vulnerable members.
Pink Heals’ volunteers drive pink fire trucks through the communities they are working in. These trucks are reflective of Graybill’s past firefighting career and a call out to men to get involved in an organization that focuses on women.
“I went after firefighters and policemen to get men involved,” said Graybill. He added that Pink Heals offers men a chance to show themselves as sensitive and loving.
Some organizations that have always been dominated by men have started campaigning and fundraising to support women’s issues.
Many men’s professional sports teams and organizations have been raising money and awareness for women’s health by wearing pink and auctioning off pink equipment for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Mother’s Day.
The NFL throws its support behind breast cancer treatment and prevention with their campaign, "A Crucial Catch". This campaign operates "in partnership with the American Cancer Society [and] is focused on the importance of annual screenings, especially for women who are 40 and older," according to NFL.com.
With much encouragement from the public, the NFL has also started fighting against sexual assault and domestic violence. NFL.com reported that “In collaboration with the NO MORE campaign and the Joyful Heart Foundation, the NFL is working to urge a national conversation on these pressing issues.”
Fresh Start Women's Foundation was started by women in the 1990s to help those trying to make changes in their life. In 1999, the Men's Board was formed by a co-founder's son who wanted to support the work of Fresh Start.
The Men’s Board hosts a golf tournament every year to raise awareness and money for the foundation. Last year $350,000 was raised to help the women who use the foundation’s services.
The Men’s Board Chair, Brett Angner, said that it is not difficult to find men who want to join the board and work on behalf of the women in their community.
“We all strongly believe women are the foundation of family and society and we are all better off when we raise women up and support them” said Angner.
Nationally, this effort to include men in women’s health initiatives has been evolving for the past 55 years.
The government did not get involved in the women's health movement until 1983 when the “Public Health Service [formed] a task force to assess the status of women's health in the United States and to identify the most important factors that influence health and disease.”
The results of the 1983 study lead to the creation of the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) in the National Institutes of Health in 1990. Today the ORWH continues to add to women’s health through scientific research and discovery.
According to the National Institutes of Health, women’s health revolves around “unique issues [including] pregnancy, menopause, and conditions of the female organs.”
Phone interview with Dave Graybill on January 23, 2015
About a Crucial Catch. NFL.com, Accessed January 23, 2015
The NFL's response to domestic violence and sexual assault. NFL.com. Accessed January 23, 2015 http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000439286/article/the-nfls-response...
Brett Angner Men's Board Chair. Fresh Start Foundation: Our Story. Accessed January 23, 2015
Phone interview with Brett Angner January 26, 2015
Summary of Fifth Report. U.S. Department of Health And Human Services. Accessed January 23, 2015 http://www.hrsa.gov/advisorycommittees/bhpradvisory/cogme/Reports/fifthr...
Medline Plus: Women’s Health. Accessed January 23, 2015
Reviewed February 4, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith