The following is a statement from Eva Chalas, MD, FACOG, FACS, President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, FACOG, Chief Executive Officer of ACOG, in observance of International Women’s Day:
“ACOG has long recognized the significant interplay of women’s human rights with the overall health of women and society. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women and the progress that has been made to achieve gender equity and women’s full societal participation. It also serves as an urgent call to action to address continued inequities and barriers to opportunity and prosperity for women and girls both globally and in our own nation.
“This year, International Women’s Day comes as the world continues to face a pandemic and many countries in the world, including the United States, continue to experience a maternal mortality crisis. The last year has highlighted what we have long known: structural and systemic barriers to accessing quality, respectful care have created unacceptable threats to the health and wellbeing of women—most especially women of color, women in poverty, and women with disabilities who, as a result of these barriers, face higher rates of maternal mortality, greater burdens accessing reproductive medical care, and greater risk of death from diseases—COVID-19 to cancers—that others survive.
“For all of its hardship and challenges, the past year has also illuminated women’s leadership in government, public health, and medicine throughout the globe and in our own nation. Behind this demonstration of capacity and compassion, ACOG recognizes the untapped talent and potentially limitless achievements of a gender-equal world and answers the call to action to bring about such change.
“The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Choosing to Challenge.” At ACOG, we will work to ensure that women as patients and as physicians find and grow momentum—as individuals and in alliance, as more than the sum of our parts, more than half the world. We challenge ourselves as we continue to advocate for care models and policies that promote equitable, respectful care and oppose restrictions that stand in the way of such care. We also choose to challenge ourselves to change the culture of medicine and to address the systemic and institutional barriers and racism that has led to disparate outcomes and experiences for women of color and those in marginalized communities.
“On International Women’s Day, ACOG celebrates all women, honors their choices and challenges, and recommits to advancing their health and their health care in our own practices and beyond.”