CHENNAI: Women need to be empowered to make choices on reproductive health, said speakers at a panel discussion at Cloudnine the Hospital on Tuesday, ahead of International Women’s Day. The discussion titled – ‘It’s Your Choice:
Take charge of your own reproductive health’, saw actress and producer Radhikaa Sarathkumar and others like Sudha Shivkumar, chairperson FICCI FLO, Dr Nithya Ramamurthy, Dr Nazira Sadique and Dr Kanimozhi Somu, both consultants at Cloudnine Hospital, talk about issues related to women’s health. “Empowerment is not a gift that someone can give you,” said Radhikaa. “Empowerment is knowing; being self-aware.
The basic problem today is the lack of education and information. Women’s Day is not a day to merely wish other women but a day to help women empower themselves.”
Echoing this sentiment, the other panellists highlighted issues like the absence of sex education in schools, women not being aware of contraception, unwanted pregnancies and the importance of following a healthy lifestyle. “Every woman needs to take care of herself,” said Dr Nazira.
“Many young women are facing issues because they do not exercise and do not follow a proper diet, which leads to things like polycystic ovarian disorder. (PCOD)” Just as it is important to take care of one’s health, the panellists stressed that women should be given the freedom to choose when they wanted to get married and if they were ready to conceive.
“Marriage should not be thrust upon women, neither should pregnancy,” said Dr Nithya. “These days, women want to be financially stable before getting married.
They should get married when they are ready and long for their pregnancy rather than get into it because of pressure.” Women, they said are conditioned to ‘sacrifice’ for the family and not speak of it, and this has to change. “Women need to learn when to say, ‘No’,” said Sudha.
“Many women are unaware of their health and legal rights. Along with knowing and understanding their rights, women must learn to strike a balance because every right comes with a responsibility.”