Rodriguez-Trias, Helen. “1993 Presidential Address - Women Are Organizing: Environmental and Population Policies Will Never Be the Same.” 1993 Presidential Address 84 (September 1994): 1379–82. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.84.9.1379.
This article explores the connection between environmental health, women’s health needs, and public health strategies for the promotion of healthy communities. Rodriguez-Trias critiques the presentation of population control as the answer to environmental problems. Instead, she states that attention should be placed on poverty, inequitable distribution, consumption patterns, and economic development. Rodriguez-Trias discusses the harm done to low-income women of color, including sterilizations promoted by eugenicists, displacement of famers and indigenous people, and government supported blocks to access to necessary health services. These struggles reveal the importance of including women’s voices in grassroots community organizing and public policy decision-making. Local and international family planning and reproductive health policies and services are discussed, as well as the work of women-led organizations such as Women’s Environment and Development Organization, International Policy Action Committee, and Women’s Voices. To Rodriguez-Trias, these organizations are models that recognize the connection between environmental and reproductive justice and call for an increase in funding for women’s programs, support for indigenous groups completing health advocacy, and an increase in participation of women in decision-making positions. Finally, the article closes with updates from on local and international advances in policies pertaining to reproductive and environmental health, including the World Conference on Population Development in Cairo, Egypt in 1994.
The article calls for a nation-wide and international union between environmental and reproductive justice movements, and demands the recognition of diverse environmental issues faced by communities of color, such as neighborhood violence, toxic sites near homes, destruction of sacred ground, deployment of nuclear weapons, and occupation of territories. This article is useful for activist, organizers, and scholars seeking information on environmental policies, population control efforts, and the connection between environmental and reproductive justice.