Our History

Founded in Washington, DC in 1975, the Network has been a leader in the larger women’s rights movement.

Celebrating 40 Years Photo

Our Roots

Starting with the 1970 Pill Hearings, women let it be known that they would no longer blindly accept what they were told by doctors, the medical establishment, or their government. A women’s health movement developed, knit together by hundreds of grassroots women’s health projects in communities across the United States.

45 years later, the Networks’ advocacy efforts and the independent health information we provide have made a difference in the lives of millions of women. Despite our successes, however, our work is far from done. Decades years after the first protest, we still need to raise our voices to say that women’s lives matter and women’s health matters!

Our Founders

A small group of visionary women recognized the need for an organization that could function as an "action arm" of the women's health movement by directing influencing policy in Washington, D.C.

Bio Photo Barbara Seaman
Barbara Seaman
Bio Photo Phyllis Chesler
Phyllis Chesler
Bio Photo Belita Cowan
Belita Cowan
Bio Photo Alice Wolfson
Alice Wolfson
Bio Photo Mary Howell
Mary Howell

1975: The First FDA Protest Our first public action was a protest at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on behalf of women who died because no one would give them information about the risks of the estrogen-containing drugs they were taking.

Continuing the fight

As times have changed, the Network has changed with them.

Today, we place a growing emphasis on new forms of organizing in addition to our consistent watchdog work. As part of our Raising Women’s Voices project, we work with grassroots local leaders to expand health care access and ultimately, transform the way health care is provided. Women’s health is human health, women’s rights are human rights, and the fight for health equity and justice isn’t going anywhere.

We cannot continue this work without committed institutional and individual partners like you.

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