International Women’s Day 2019

Friday 8th of March celebrates International Women's Day! We look into this year's theme of Balance for Better, with a focus on women's health and wellbeing.

International Women’s day is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the great economic, social and political contribution made by women globally. In many instances these achievements go unrecognised, and so this day gives us a platform to highlight and celebrate them, so many of which benefit our society and make our world a happier, healthier place for women, men and children everywhere.

The theme of this year is Balance for Better, and whilst IWD celebrates the achievements of women, it also marks a call to action for accelerating balance, and so for this day WellOne is looking into women’s health inequality and how we can drive the change towards better health and wellbeing for women.

Inequality in women’s health is a global issue. Studies from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on Women’s Health and Wellbeing gives the shocking statistic that only half of women in developing regions receive the recommended amount of health care they need. This will not only impact a woman directly, but given the fundamental and multifaceted roles women hold in our societies, the overall health of women, men, children and families will suffer as a consequence, as is the case with all forms of inequality in economic, political, social and cultural spheres.

Looking closer to home, women in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets are expected to have 57.1 years of good health, compared with the national average of 63.9 years. Everybody is living longer but one of the challenges we face is making sure we can manage short and long term medical conditions as we age and maintain a certain level of health. In order to address these statistics, some excellent initiatives have been created to support women and the wider community to improve their overall health and wellbeing in the area. The WellOne website is part of an initiative led by Poplar HARCA and is a Partnership made up of local voluntary and community organisations, schools, GP Networks and social housing providers, and coordinates a wide range of health, fitness and wellbeing activities happening in and around Poplar. Many of the activities are free or low cost, and there really is something for everyone. The site’s Stories page follows individuals and groups in the community who are participating in or running activities, giving visitors an insight into what’s going on in their local community and raising awareness of the many groups and classes that are available to them.

Below are a few insights from our activity hosts who are helping women to improve their health and wellbeing:

Elizabeth Stout, fitness instructor, Aberfeldy Centre:

‘Each individual has experienced a different journey. For example, I have some ladies who physically look healthier from starting to exercise more – their skin looks clearer. I have ladies who have improved their strength, who started not being able to get themselves from the floor to the ground who can now hold a plank for 1 minute. There are ladies who have lost weight and lowered their blood pressure, ladies who started out timid and quiet and have become jovial in the class.’

Clyo, coordinator at Women’s Environmental Network:

‘WEN tries to take on environmental issues through a gender perspective because women are affected by and can contribute to these issues in a different way than men. From the use of chemical free cosmetics to sustainable menstrual products, but also through the way to feed and grow a family, women can really make a global difference in the environmental field.’

Joining a class with Lynn Hill, Line Dancing Tutor:

‘One woman, Sue, was attending for the first time after an operation and found that this was the most suitable exercise for her. Another, also attending for the first time, loved dance but found other classes – like Zumba, for example – too much. This line dancing was perfect for her, and she left with a smile on her face. Others like Linda, suffering from a blood disorder, and Sue, fully retired, had been coming for years as a way to stay active but work within their limits and abilities.’


We hope that you have a very happy International Women’s Day and use this day as a time to reflect upon the great work women are doing in our society, from the home to the workplace and beyond, we thank women everywhere for their hard work and the gifts of love and joy they bring to our world!


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