Women’s Way presented HERS with an excellent opportunity to talk about the issues, but the award presenter was a pharmaceutical company representative. Nora’s first thought was, “I can’t accept an award presented by someone from the industry.” HERS is an independent women’s health education organization with a policy of not accepting support from the medical industry.
Amid the applause of 1,100 guests, the Women’s Way 32nd Annual Powerful Voice Awards were presented in Philadelphia on May 6, 2009. The awards honored the accomplishments of Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR) Director Teresa White, community organizer and HIV/AIDS awareness advocate Waheedah Shabazz-El, and women’s rights advocate and activist, Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services (HERS) Foundation President Nora W. Coffey.
Women’s Way Executive Director Melissa Weiler Gerber says of the award, it “serves as a call to action to women everywhere, encouraging us to increase women’s influence in the media and make a difference in the community.”
Women’s Way is the first major women’s organization to publicly acknowledge the importance of educating women about the damaging effects of hysterectomy and the lifelong functions of the female organs. The award is recognition that hysterectomy is one of the most serious health issues facing women today. As demonstrated in Nora’s book THE H WORD, co-authored by Rick Schweikert, the hysterectomy rate is on the rise, and every woman with a uterus is at risk.
“Because there was no opportunity to address this issue publicly at the banquet,” Nora said, “in keeping with HERS’ mandate of education, I presented a copy of THE H WORD to the pharmaceutical rep as she handed me the award. That way, she could educate herself and her pharma colleagues about these issues.”
Since 1977, Women’s Way has been the country’s oldest and largest women’s funding federation. This award brings into focus the imperative to provide women with the information required for hysterectomy informed consent.
We welcome any ideas you might have about getting exposure for HERS and THE H WORD. Each time someone reads the book, it’s another person who has been educated about these issues and someone who may educate others and join us in changing the law. Each time the book is in the media, in a bookstore, on a blog, or on a library shelf, the number of people who have access to this vital information is magnified many times over.
This is an opportunity to put hysterectomy information into the hands of those who need it…to save a girl, to save a woman, to save a family. To prevent hysterectomy from becoming the legacy of another generation of women and girls.