We jump at any chance to celebrate women and their importance in our lives, which is why we love National Women’s Checkup Day, held every year on the second Monday in May, on May 8 this year. To continue a bit of a theme, this day comes up right after the world celebrates Mother’s Day. In fact, it is celebrated on the Monday directly after Mother’s Day. Held to focus on the importance of regular checkups and doctor’s visits, this day encourages all women to take more steps and maintain better health.
History of National Women’s Checkup Day
The history of women’s health has been different from that of men for multiple reasons including social-, biological-, and behavioral factors. Traditionally, women have been at a disadvantage in terms of economic and social status, and this has affected their access to health care. Multiple experts expound on the need to change ‘women’s health’ to the term ‘the health of women,’ to broaden the focus around the health issues women face, which historically only put an emphasis on reproductive health.
The health of women has also been impacted by the fact that women are underrepresented in most major research studies. However, countries like the U.S. and other Western nations are addressing this by setting up organizations and trials like the Women’s Health Initiative. The turning point in this moment ran parallel to other international women’s movements across the world. With the labor movements during the 20th century in North America and across Europe, more and more women began demanding equality and parity, culminating in equal access to healthcare.
A key moment in women’s health came with the Women’s Health Movement, which took place around 40 years ago with a goal to improve healthcare for all women. 20 years later, this movement has turned into a powerful political force with significant contributions. Issues of women’s health have been taken up by many feminists and the improvement in the overall situation can be attributed to international women’s movements.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation identified the top ten women’s health issues as being cancer, reproductive health, maternal health, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), sexually transmitted infections, violence, mental health, non-communicable diseases, youth, and aging.
National Women’s Checkup Day timeline
Multiple records show the existence of women as spiritual healers and physicians.
Former British schoolteacher Elizabeth Blackwell graduates from New York's Geneva Medical College, first in her class.
Margaret Sanger opens America's first birth control clinic, establishing the American Birth Control League a year later, which later evolves into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
In the first known campaign of its kind, the Egyptian Society of Physicians acknowledges the negative effects of female genital mutilation, going against tradition.
Technical advances lead to the creation of low-radiation mammograms, bringing this technology to the modern age.
“Our Bodies, Ourselves” is written by women, for women, at a time when most gynecologists are men — it revolutionizes views about women’s bodies and their sexuality.
National Women’s Checkup Day FAQs
What does a female checkup consist of?
Female checkups usually consist of a pelvic exam and a Pap test.
What tests should a woman have every year?
Common tests include pelvic exams, Pap smears, breast cancer screenings, physical exams, cholesterol tests, blood pressure screenings, dental exams, immunizations, and eye exams.
What is National Women's Health Week?
This week starts on Mother’s Day and encourages girls and women to make their health a priority.
Is there a Women's Health Month?
Women’s Health Month is in May each year to highlight women’s health issues and how they can take better control of their physical and mental health.
How To Observe National Women’s Checkup Day
Visit your doctor
Schedule a routine checkup if you haven't had one recently. Before you go, create a list of questions you'd like answered and make a note of your family history that could have a bearing on your health. Go ahead and encourage all the women in your life to get themselves checked, too.
Improve your health
Adopt a better lifestyle for a healthier you. Approach your physician to get tips on how to make changes suited to your lifestyle and then take steps to gradually improve your physical and mental health.
Share with the class
Share the simple ways you are changing and improving your health with your family and friends. For a bigger impact, you can even post on your social media, with regular updates on the changes you are making. This will help inspire other women to make similar changes for their own health.
5 Amazing Facts About Women
Women have ‘younger’ brains
A brain metabolism study shows women’s brains appear to be three years younger than men of the same age, which could explain why women retain their cognitive health for longer.
Women pay less for life insurance
Compared to men, women pay less for life insurance as they live longer and, statistics show, their early years are more healthy.
Certain diagnostic screenings take precedence
Cervical and breast cancer screenings are two of the most important services for women's health.
A touchstone for women's health
After 42 years, “Our Bodies, Ourselves” is still considered an expert source of women's health information — published in 26 countries, it has been released in nine editions and sold more than 4 million copies.
Women exhibit better muscle endurance
Women can exercise 75% longer than men can in various stamina exercises, according to studies, and their metabolism in these muscles is better too.
Why National Women’s Checkup Day Is Important
It helps find and diagnose problems earlier
Regular checkups and doctor's visits mean we have higher chances of identifying underlying health problems and treating them on time. We are also able to discuss and rule out problems and highlight others. We’ve got better control over our body and health and can find problems early on.
It encourages a healthy lifestyle
Taking control of our bodies leads to healthier lives and this could even inspire the people around us to embrace healthy habits, too.
It can reduce healthcare costs
Getting checked regularly ensures you are healthy and allows you to take preventative action in case of illness, which can reduce major medical costs. Such checkups also decrease your chances of taking sick leave or getting admitted to the hospital.
National Women’s Checkup Day dates