Welcome to Hysterical Women’s first mini series, exploring Black women’s healthcare experiences, in partnership with Modibodi

October is Black History Month, and I’m so proud to be launching Hysterical Women’s first sponsored mini series, #BlackWomensHealthMatters. This series has been generously supported by sponsorship from Modibodi and donations from Hysterical Women readers, enabling me to pay five Black writers for their contributions.

In 2020 we’ve seen black people and other ethnic minorities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Belly Mujinga, and countless more. It feels more important than ever to talk about Black History, and the injustices surrounding so many black deaths, but also to talk about black futures, and black lives in their entirety.

In the context of Hysterical Women, this means talking about black health and healthcare experiences, black motherhood, black pain, black mental health, and the experiences of black healthcare professionals.

A survey carried out in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic found that 60 per cent of Black people in the UK do not believe they are treated equally by the NHS. When you look at the gender breakdown of that statistic though, the difference is striking. 78 per cent of black women, compared to 47 per cent of black men, believe their health is not protected to the same degree as their white counterparts – and researchers commented that black women “reported more experiences of unequal treatment” during interviews.

It’s not hard to see why. Black people are 1.9 times more likely to die from COVID than white people. The reasons are a complex mix of socioeconomic determinants of health, but Public Health England has acknowledged that structural racism could also play a part: “Historic racism and poorer experiences of healthcare or at work may mean that individuals in BAME groups are less likely to seek care when needed or as NHS staff are less likely to speak up when they have concerns about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or risk.”

Beyond the pandemic, black women in the UK are horrifyingly five times more likely than white women to die during pregnancy or childbirth, and the history of gynaecology and reproductive healthcare is packed full of racism and colonial brutality – which we’ll be exploring in more detail over the next month.

I’m going to keep this intro post fairly short and sweet, because the voices of this month’s contributors more than speak for themselves. We’ve got guest posts from women and non-binary writers on their experiences with miscarriage, bipolar, bulimia, trigeminal neuralgia (a facial pain disorder) and endometriosis, as well as Q&As with the FivexMore campaign, The Motherhood Group, Black Women in Menopause, Black Minds Matter UK, Black Women in Healthcare, and Decolonising Contraception, as well as a guest post from Terrence Higgins Trust on black women’s experiences with HIV.

You can find all the pieces so far at #BlackWomensHealthMatters, and I’m really looking forward to sharing everything with you throughout October.

In the meantime, a special thank you to our brand partner for this series, Modibodi, the leak-proof underwear brand. Modibodi has ranges for women, men and teens, and their products are suitable for periods, pee, pregnancy and perspiration. (They’re also one of the brands I personally use for my period each month, so they come very highly recommended!)

Modibodi’s sponsorship of #BlackWomensHealthMatters has paid the contributor fees of three of our five guest bloggers this month, while donations from Hysterical Women readers helped to fund an additional two paid guest posts.

Modibodi is also offering Hysterical Women readers 15% off their collection, using the discount code HystericalWomen. This excludes sale items and bundles.

There’s more info on Modibodi below, as well as their taboo-busting new ad campaign, ‘The New Way to Period’. You can find them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Founded in late 2013, Australia’s original leak-proof apparel brand, Modibodi, provides people of all ages and body types all around the world with access to reusable and sustainable underwear, swimwear, active wear and maternity wear. Founder and CEO, Kristy Chong, spent her time designing, developing, and testing her patented Modifier Technology™ leak-proof undies into the Modibodi collection. Modibodi believes that making a positive impact should be as easy as changing the undies we wear. Together with Modibodi, we are breaking taboos, opening minds, mentioning the “unmentionables” with a reusable, sustainable product line that will benefit all bodies on this planet.