“Weaving Our Stories”: Women, Wombs and Whys is an arts-based workshop led by two students who hope to educate participants on racial and ethnic disparities in women’s health care.
The workshop is cosponsored by the Ohio University Women's Center, Intersectional Feminist Alliance and Student National Medical Association. The student leaders will work with participants to identify the causes of the increased mortality rates for African-American women in the U.S. when compared to their peers. Participants will then engage in an arts-based practice that will be displayed in the International Women’s Art Installation next month.
Karinne Hill, a senior studying sociology-criminology and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, is one of the students leading the workshop. Hill, who is a former columnist for The Post, plans on discussing how people of color generally have access to lower-quality health care, which has a negative impact on both mothers and infants.
If You Go:
What: “Weaving Our Stories”: Women, Wombs and Whys
When: 3:30 p.m., Fri.
Where: Baker Center 403
“There are historical racial stereotypes that women of color don’t experience pain in the same way white women do,” Hill said. “And that goes along with stereotypes about black women not being as feminine as white women. Those are historical stereotypes that still impact health care that people get to this day.”
Hill is hoping the art participants create will represent the current state of maternal and infant health care disparities. The goal is to create three separate art projects, one of them being a large canvas made of a series of smaller canvases, similar to a paint-by-numbers.
“There will also be a couple smaller canvases of steps people see we could take in improving those maternal issues,” Hill said. “And then there will be another one of those larger canvases that will portray where we hope to go.”
Hill and her student co-leader connected their ideas about racial and tonic disparities among different races and ethnicities. In the end, they agree the goal is to get everyone to the same place with access to good health care.
“We had this connection in our minds between that and the idea of weaving things together,” Hill said. “We’re gonna connect all the different canvases together with tool, making a ... clear flow between them and showing there’s a pathway or a journey between where we are now and our ideal future.”
The causes of increased mortality rates in minority women is alarming to Alicia Rodgers, the other co-presenter of the workshop. Rodgers, a graduate student in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, will speak on maternity in minorities to tell the stories of those stripped of a voice.
“We both felt drawn to speak and tell their stories and advocate as well as increase the awareness,” Rodgers said. “We want this art to challenge our culture and challenge the way we think. We can educate and do all these things, and we wanna find a way to touch and reach people to let them know what’s going on.”
Rodgers is looking forward to people who are unaware of those problems coming to participate, engage and listen.
“I don’t want to say everything is bad or sad to be a part of these minority communities, but it is a reality, and I think to just keep going forward as if it’s not something happening to so many people is such a problem, and it’s so sad,” Rodgers said.
Heather Harmon, an associate lecturer of health administration, believes the workshop is extremely important in beginning to educate the public about the disparities faced by African-American women with regard to maternal and infant mortality.
“There are a variety of risk factors that black women face that need to be addressed if we ever want to see improvements in these outcomes,” Harmon said. “Acknowledging the problem is the first step in addressing it.”