December 2003


SisterSong Conference

A national conference on Women of Color Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights organized by the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective was held November 13-16 at Spelman College, Women's Research & Resource Center in Atlanta, GA. The conference was organized to bring together women of color activists, providers, policymakers, allies, and men to discuss and develop strategies for improving the reproductive health of women of color in the United States.

This conference was significant because women of color have not come together in a national conference to discuss these issues since 1989. Because of the many social and scientific developments that have taken place, it was urgent that women of color come together to discuss the implications of these issues.


Superwomen Need Support Too!

The pressures and demands of everyday life will continue to be with us in 2004, especially as we maintain our fast paced lives. The stressors we often face lead to physical and psychological distress, which can ultimately impact our overall quality of life in negative ways.

I have been watching this phenomenon with great interest, because so many men and women are increasingly afflicted with debilitating physical impairments, such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer, in addition to psychological impairment, such as depression and anxiety. While there are many scenarios I could focus on today reflecting the impact of stress on our lives, I would like to highlight three distinct groups of ?Superwomen? - (professional women; women in business and pastors? wives) who may be highly vulnerable to poor mental and physical health because of the stressful lives they lead with sometimes limited to no support. The term ?Superwomen? is used to depict women who are constantly attempting to do a balancing act between work, home, spouse, children, and self-care, although self-care is usually rarely achieved on a consistent basis.

Let?s look at the professional woman who may be in business for herself or a corporate power broker for a major corporation. She may be stressed out by the need to compete in a business world that is usually dominated by males, along with the responsibility of going home at the end of the day to manage a home and family. For African American women, the problem may be even more complex, especially if they are victimized by racism and sexism. Many times these ?Superwomen? are highly stressed out with neither adequate support from the workplace nor her family. I would like to take a minute to affirm those major corporations that understand the importance of family, and those spouses who are secure enough to lend support and understanding to ?Superwomen.? But all too often, professional women are left depleted and drained by the demands of life, and many are struggling in silence because they may not believe anyone will understand.


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