IMPACTS and the DSU hosts Women’s Rights in Healthcare workshop
By Ana Brito, Contributor
Learning how to navigate the health system as a woman can be a complicated process. Not to mention if you are new to Canada or if you feel that you are being discriminated against because of your gender, sex, religion, or ethnicity. That’s why IMPACTS and the DSU Women’s Collective organized an informative workshop about women’s rights in healthcare.
The event took place on October 10 at the Douglas College Aboriginal Gathering Place and was led by Casey Vickers, Coordinator at the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective (VWHC). The VWHC is a non-profit organization that provides self-identified women with a safe space to foster their health and well-being.
Vickers explained that women’s bodies are radically different from men’s—hence the need for diverse and unique care. The organizers said that they believe a feminist approach to advocacy in healthcare is crucial to provide what every woman needs.
“You can take up space and time; it’s your right and your health. There’s no 15-minute rule when it comes to your private time with your doctor,” Vickers explained.
They emphasized the importance of being listened to and respected, adding that you should “focus on your concerns, they have to respect what you say.” Vickers also advised that it is your right to know in detail about the diagnosis, and the doctor should always explain their reasons behind every decision made.
The nurse practitioner clinic provides lots of services such as diagnosis and treatment of common injuries and illnesses, prescriptions, gynecological tests, x-rays, HIV tests, and IUD insertions. They also provide acupuncture, yoga, Pilates, and wellness counseling. The VWHC is a resource for every type of woman—cis and trans—and non-binary clients, according to their website.
Vickers highlighted that trans care is provided at the clinic. They explained that equity is their start point when it comes to health.
“When we talk about equity, we talk about all starting at the same point—we all deserve to be treated the same way by the healthcare system. But healthcare doesn’t have to be equal to all, it should address the specifics of each group and each person.”
Because women have a different biology than men, they sometimes require different treatments. Women go through menstruation, pregnancies, menopause, and many other cycles that need attention.
Vickers also explained how advocacy is also essential to support other women. “Women can feel very alone when approaching the healthcare system, that’s why you can bring a friend or partner to help you during the doctor’s consultation,” they added. They said that through advocacy, we can help to give a voice to someone in need, but we ensure to never overstep their ideas and point of view.
The VWHC is located on 29 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC. For more information their website is www.womenshealthcollective.ca