Most successful initiatives for women’s healthcare are lead by or largely involve women, which is partly reflective of the disenfranchisement women face at all levels of society, but also crucial to note, as they are the ones filling the gaps in social services. Perhaps ignorance is partly to blame – having not experienced menstruation firsthand, how can men understand how important it is for a homeless shelter to provide tampons and pads to women in need? How can they properly evaluate the importance of aid without knowing how menstruation can affect women’s mental health, confidence in the workplace, or even that it affects educational attendance rates?
There is no greater asset in life than health; no greater public service, than healthcare. The tirade is both against the men who are championing their own views on women’s healthcare, and for those, below, who have recognized that human dignity transcends gender, though legislation does not.
As we wind down a month of encouraging and celebrating the men who help champion MENstrual and women’s health, here’s to four more men who have always stood up for women’s rights and their right to healthcare that prioritizes them, their wishes, and their well-being. To those men who understand every community, from the macro down to the micro, is built on a woman and her strength upholds her community’s and that without women, we cannot move forward.
1. Bill Gates
No number, whether defined in dollars, numbers of mother saved, infants delivered, deaths prevented, or illnesses treated can truly relay the impact the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made on the world’s community. Bill Gates, arguably one of the world’s best economists and smartest people, has understood that an investment in women in crucial for any nation’s strength and stability. Just last year, the Foundation announced an $80 million commitment to close the ‘Gender Data Gaps’ and ‘accelerate progress for women’ and girls globally, acknowledging that part of the problem is a lack of information and without base numbers, improvement cannot be properly planned nor measured.
2. Barack Obama
Obama literally put women’s healthcare on the map, faster and more efficiently, than any president before him. Recognizing that a strong economy is based on well-educated girls and equal opportunity, he quickly made birth control accessible to young girls and women. He gave women our control back; it gave us the ability to choose again. Even in his constant fight to protect Planned Parenthood’s funding, he acknowledged and validated that women have the right to control our own bodies even when society, religion, economics, and law, have challenged it.
He made it a priority, was outspoken about equal opportunities for women and fought for equal pay, and never wavered in his support of women and their reproductive rights, something many politicians cannot say. He has always considered the impact of policies on women; Obama created the White House Council on Women and Girls in 2009 to ensure that all federal agencies “take into account the needs of women and girls in the policies they draft, the programs they create, the legislation they support” because “the purpose of our government is to ensure that in America, all things are still possible for all people.”
AND, he has always celebrated Michelle’s success, in her own right, as a woman and as a leader. He has respected her and treated her as every man should a woman, setting an example for men around the world.
3. Mark Ruffalo
The Hunk-alicious actor has always been known as an outspoken feminist, but his contributions to public debate are always poignant, logical, heart-felt, and inspire compassion (if not moral outrage). His statement at an abortion rights rally in Mississippi in support of women told of his own mother whose illegal operation cost her $600 and her dignity.
“What happened to my mother was a relic of an America that was not free nor equal nor very kind,” he wrote. “My mother’s illegal abortion marked a time in America that we have worked long and hard to leave behind. It was a time when women were seen as second rate citizens who were not smart enough, nor responsible enough, nor capable enough to make decisions about their lives. It was a time that deserved to be left behind, and leave it behind we did, or so it seemed. We made abortion and a woman’s ability to be her own master a Right.”
4. Ken Alvandi
Last but not least on our list is Maxim Hygiene CEO and Founder, Ken Alvandi – a man who started a company, inspired by the love for his daughters and wife, to protect women from the industry’s harsh products and deregulation. He devoted his life and savings to creating a company that would be transparent with its ingredients and creation process, affordable and accessible to all women, and environmentally friendly every step of the way.
Over the past decade, along with his daughter Rebecca, he has grown from the ground up to a family-owned business, and now a nationally recognized brand that has its own storefront and online retail partnerships, like newly-announced platform Thrive Market. Together, they have expanded the company’s product line from feminine hygiene products (organic tampons and pads) to include items like nursing pads and hypoallergenic cotton pads for babies with sensitive skin.
Additionally, the company promotes the work of one female-led charity each month and donates a portion of its proceeds to the organization through the #FierceWomenFunded program. Maxim assists the organization in reaching out to new audiences and educating the public on the issue at hand as well as a solution, leaving everyone with an actionable way to help.
Do you know any men that are supporting women’s health and rights in a unique and empowering way? If so, tell us about them in the comments section below. They deserve to be honored too. Share this article with them to let them know you think they should be on the list. Make sure they also know to tell the women in their lives about healthier menstrual care options. In the spirit of father’s day, we dedicated this entire month of blog posts to all the great men out there and MENstrual related ways we can support them and they can support us. Let’s never forget that real feminists don’t discriminate against men and that men can be feminists too!