Lecture Series presents:
Theories of Relativity:
Women's Health in Developing Countries
with Jane Schuler-Repp
Monday, February 15, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Admission is $5
"Theories of Relativity: Women's Health in Developing Countries," Jane Schuler-Repp's February 15 talk, is about how we all see the world through the filters of our experiences and how her experiences in developing countries helped her to view women's reproductive health issues in a completely different light, one she has a passion to share with others.
The term "Relativity" stresses that what she has to say is grounded in the values and behaviors of different cultures, which are presented objectively and non-judgmentally. Jane says, "Understanding how people think and what they value - even when those values mean sending you off in the wrong direction - I believe is the best currency any of us can take with us anywhere."
This talk includes examples of elaborate cultural and historic mazes she encountered in seemingly straightforward, simple development projects. These are a prelude to discussing and understanding the specific cultural and physical complexities seriously affecting the health and well being of vast numbers of girls and women, primarily in Africa and parts of Asia. These girls and women have experienced obstetric fistula in birthing their children or have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) - or both.
Jane discusses the amazing work done by Catherine Hamlin and her late husband Reginald in Ethiopia. The hospital they founded in Addis Ababa, the only one in the world dedicated to obstetric fistula, helps young girls and women who have become pariahs in their families and cast out by their husbands because they did not receive even the most basic health care during their excruciatingly long and difficult labor in child birth. Since 1974 the hospital founded by the Hamlins has treated for free over 30,000 women and there is much more to be done.
The second topic, female genital mutilation (FGM), is equally intricate, complex and compelling. A cultural practice that also affects millions of women and girl children, FGM has no medical benefit. It affects 3 million annually in Africa and an estimated 92 million aged 10 and older have had some form of FGM.
Jane has lived and worked in developing countries since 1986 when she worked for the UN High Commission for Refugees in Pakistan. Following five years in Pakistan, she worked for the World Health Organization (WHO), living in Bangkok, Thailand for another five years, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for four years and finally for over three years in Kosovo as head of the office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). For the last four years she has consulted for UNFPA, WHO and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on reproductive health programs in Eritrea, Uganda, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Viet Nam.
Jane's presentation begins at 7:00 and there is a $5 admission fee collected at the door.
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