Scarlett Johansson Puts The Spotlight On Women’s Health
Education and Advocacy As the leading lady in numerous blockbuster films, Scarlett Johansson is used to being the center of attention, but now the actress is shining the spotlight on an issue that affects both her and her fans.
“I am inspired to speak out for women’s health rights as I witness women’s freedom to make their own health choices striped away with alarming speed,” says Johansson, adding that she feels that issues regarding women’s health can go virtually unnoticed simply because the conversation regarding these issues “is not loud enough.”
There are 17.2 million women and girls in Canada, making up just over half of the nation’s population, according to Statistics Canada. Two thirds of 15 to 24 -year -olds are sexually active and these numbers increase with age.
In an interview with Mediaplanet, Johansson explained that she wants to empower women to be active participants in their health care, preserve their right to choose what happens to their bodies by staying informed and speaking openly about sexual health.
Talk to your doctor
While majority of Canadian women have a regular doctor, approximately 3 out of 10 women aged 20 to 34-years-old do not. Johansson, 30, encourages women to take control of their health by visiting a healthcare provider on a regular basis.
“Be open and honest with yourself and your partner about what you need, what you desire, and what feels right for you.”
“It is important to regularly see your gynecologist for cancer screenings, to check the normal function of your reproductive organs and to discuss the changes that happen in the body as we mature,” she says.
Many Canadians physicians ask patients to come in for an annual physical examination to get a comprehensive check up. Women are also encouraged to speak with their healthcare provider for information on bodily changes ranging from puberty to menopause, sexual health needs like birth control or contraceptives, and safety measures such as the HPV vaccine or any necessary screenings.
For instance, according to The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, sexually active women over the age of 21 should get Pap tests – which screen for certain types of cancer – every one to three years depending on their province’s or territory’s screening guidelines. According to the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health, nearly 400,000 Canadian women receive abnormal Pap test results each year.
Talk to your partner
In order to have a healthy sexual relationship, Johansson encourages women to continue the conversation beyond the doctor’s office, specifically with their sexual partners.
“Be open and honest with yourself and your partner about what you need, what you desire and what feels right for you,” she says.
Talk to the world
The actress, known for her role in The Avengers, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and The Nanny Diaries, is now using her voice to advocate for the health of women everywhere – and encouraging others to do the same.
“My mom always told me that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and while that analogy may seem flippant when discussing health issues, I think it’s really apt,” she says. “Women understand where there are holes in the system that is meant to represent them, they know how and where they need more support from their own experiences and by sharing and sympathizing with the women closest to them.”
Johansson says that women can have a more active role in their own gynecological health by writing to political leaders, joining groups that support women’s health, and “by talking to girlfriends, mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers about the importance of making our voices heard.”