While many decisions about women’s health are determined at the state or federal level, cities have unique opportunities to dramatically impact women’s access to health care as well as the social and physical determinants of their health. The everyday stressors of life have been shown to play a huge role on a woman’s long-term health, especially during their most vulnerable periods of life, such as during pregnancy. These everyday stressors are further compounded for women of color, who also face the tangible health impacts of racism.
Some of the social determinants that cities control that tend to disproportionately impact women include:
- access to reliable, efficient public transportation to attend medical appointments, especially during pregnancy;
- protection from and prevention of intimate partner violence;
- access to health care and the prevention of hospital/health care deserts
- support in navigating the complex health care system, including Medicare/Medicaid services
Additionally, empowering women to make their own reproductive choices has a foundational impact in setting the overall direction for their lives. Ensuring culturally appropriate education around reproductive health also serves as a huge opportunity for cities.