Indigenous Women's Health
The SOGC is committed to advancing women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights by addressing health inequities and promoting timely access to quality, culturally safe care. The health of marginalized and vulnerable populations is particularly at risk and requires increased attention to social, cultural and economic factors that can influence health outcomes.
Since 2006, indigenous health has been a key pillar of SOGC’s strategic direction. In partnership with indigenous and non-indigenous stakeholders and organizations, the SOGC develops policies, guidelines, continuing medical education sessions, and health promotion materials. Our goal is to advance indigenous health by providing the support and resources that health professionals need to deliver culturally competent care.
The SOGC also works in collaboration with indigenous communities to advance culturally safe healthcare and healing. The Indigenous Women’s Health Initiative Committee is actively engaged in promoting health equity for indigenous women and offers their expertise to advance community-led projects and programs.
As part of this work, with the help of many SOGC member volunteers, initiatives contribute to the following areas of expertise:
- Strengthening capacity of health centres to deliver quality culturally-safe care
- Development and adaptation of clinical guidelines
- Implementation of quality assurance tools and support mechanisms
- Advocacy and public education
The SOGC has developed a Clinical Practice Guideline and Policy Statements to support these activities:
- The SOGC published a statement to express its deepest condolences to Indigenous Peoples and acknowledge the past and present racism and inequities within our country’s landscape and health care system.
- In partnership with the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) and with generous support from First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) of Health Canada, we advanced our guideline and created a companion document for healthcare professionals on creating culturally safe care. Both were published in 2013. For more information see the Health Professionals Working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis consensus guideline and the Health Professionals Working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis: Companion Piece.
- Eighteen percent of all the women in Canada - many of them indigenous - live in rural or remote communities. With routine birthing evacuations, indigenous women are regularly forced to experience birth alone, far from their homes, families and support systems. For many healthy pregnant women, this has resulted in stressful, lonely and costly births with negative health outcomes. The SOGC strongly supports returning birth to rural and remote communities for low-risk pregnancies. To read more, see the SOGC Policy Statement on Returning Birth to Aboriginal, Rural, and Remote Communities.
- In 2010, the SOGC teamed with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN), Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, and the Canadian Federation of Sexual Health (CFSH) to create a joint policy statement, affirming the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) women and youth. For more information, see: Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Realities and Access to Services for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in Canada.