It seems very appropriate that my last post for Haemophilia Scotland falls on International Woman’s Day! This post is for everyone, especially the women who have come along to our meet ups and all those who will be joining (but I hope all the wonderful men in the community will read this too as we need your support!).
As we have been discussing, there are still huge issues in the diagnosis of bleeding disorders for women, and we are still facing out dated opinions on treatment and acceptance that women can have bleeding disorders. Together we can challenge these stereotypes and support each other.
With this in mind, for inspiration and to celebrate International Women’s Day, I would like to highlight the story of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Like our group, these women came from all walks of life to change attitudes and to increase healthcare.
Working in World War One, it is estimated that the Scottish Women’s Hospitals treated c.200, 000 soldiers. However, the proposal for women’s medical contribution to the war effort was initially rejected in Britain. During the outbreak of World War One, their founder, Elsie Inglis approached the War Office to offer the services of female medics and auxiliaries to treat the fighting troops, she was told ‘my good lady, go home and sit still’. Elsie did not, and with the help of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, raised the funds to set up The Scottish Women’s Hospital Units. The units comprised of over 1,000 women, who travelled to treat and support fighting troops and displaced civilians. The span of their work was incredible and included France, Belgium, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Corsica, Romania and Russia. These women risked their lives, some did not return from warfare, and their liberty as some were prisoners of war. During World War One, the SWH units endured warfare, displacement, retreat and deadly weather conditions to save lives, working through the worst typhus epidemic in history and chronic infection due to trench warfare. Their actions demonstrate just what equality can achieve for everyone.
2017 marks 100th anniversary of Elsie’s death, she did not get to see the lasting impact of The Scottish Women’s actions and bravery, including our right to vote. But she is still with us in spirt – If you think you have a bleeding disorder and are not getting the help you need, be like Elsie, do not go home and sit still – join our women’s group!
The women’s group will be continuing, and in June, there will a meet up to decide how the group progresses. Please come along and have your say or just to meet up with other women. They are a great group and will make you feel very welcome! There will be an announcement coming out soon re the date of the meeting. Good luck to you all! xxx