International Women's Health Coalition records
Scope and Contents
The materials in the collection document the International Women's Health Coalition’s (IWHC) work as an advocate, funder, and global partner in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and adolescents. The bulk of records contain materials related to IWHC grantees, programs, fundraising, international policymaking, and research. The collection also contains administrative records documenting the work performed by the Board of Directors, Communications and Development departments, Senior and Executive management teams, and records from former presidents Adrienne Germain and
As a result of the Board of Directors' decision to withhold email correspondence from their donation, the materials in this collection exclude correspondence records that provide evidence of institutional decision-making and IWHC’s workplace culture. However, some files in the IWHC SharePoint site records series contain documentation of independent investigations conducted by Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius law firm in 2020 on workplace racism, relationships with grantees, and pay equity analysis. This series also includes documentation regarding the final decision to merge with the former International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region (IPPFWHR), now known as Fòs Feminista.
Dates of Materials
- Creation: 1972 - 2021
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research use with the following restrictions on access:
The Board of Directors restricted access to their records until seven years after each record’s date of creation. All other records are immediately available for research use.
Conditions Governing Use
To the extent that The International Women’s Health Coalition owns copyright, The Board has licensed the materials to be freely used, so long as the user attributes materials' original authorship to The International Women’s Health Coalition. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. Copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by The International Women’s Health Coalition, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.
Biographical / Historical
The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) advocated for women’s reproductive rights and health between 1984 and 2021. The IWHC acted as a comprehensive resource for sexual and reproductive health information, data and recommendations. They partnered with researchers, policy makers, legislators, contraceptive and health service providers, and educators to provide sexual and reproductive rights and health services, programs, and global policy analysis. The organization worked towards significantly advancing services for contraception, safe abortion, maternity care, preventing sexually transmitted diseases, and sexuality education.
Originally founded by Merle Goldberg as the National Women’s Health Coalition, it became the IWHC in 1984 with Joan Banks Dunlop serving as the organization’s first President and Adrienne Germain serving as Vice President in 1985. During their leadership, Dunlop and Germain created an intellectual capital program to collect credible data and create evidence-based advocacy tools to influence policymaking and improve access and quality for women’s health services in the Global South.
Among its most notable impacts was the IWHC’s role in forming United Nations policy on women’s rights at the 1994 UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). IWHC helped draft the “Women’s Declaration on Population Policies,” a document that stated women should have the right to control their sexual and reproductive health and rights and called for a redesign of global population policy. The declaration also listed minimum program requirements for implementing international and national population policies and programs as well as fundamental ethical principles for women’s health care. The outcome of ICPD represented a major shift in global policymaking, one that started to center women in population policy and the structure of sexual and reproductive health and rights services.
In July of 2020, an open letter to the IWCH Board Chair from former Black and women of color IWHC staff members charged the organization with institutional racism and bullying. The letter described racist, homophobic, transphobic and intimidating behavior and remarks from the organization’s leadership and management, which was solely white, as well as favoritism of white staff, tokenism of Black employees, and unequal distribution of labor. Although a subsequent independent investigation cleared then President Francois Girard and two other senior managers at the organization of illegal racial discrimination, it did find the organization had a pervading culture of fear and intimidation which had a disproportionate negative impact on staff of color. Girard resigned in 2020 and the IWHC dissolved in 2021. Board Chair Kathleen Regan announced in June 2021 the IWHC would be merging with the International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region, (IPPFWHR) and CHANGE, a Washington-based organization advocating for global health policy. This alliance is now known as Fòs Feminista.
Source: “An open letter from the former, truly bold and independent voices of the International Women’s Health Coalition”. https://medium.com/@iwhcanonymous/an-open-letter-from-the-former-truly-bold-and-independent-voices-of-the-international-womens-2a36f0577d7d (accessed March 31, 2022).
Source: Ford, Liz “Women's health organisation president resigns following bullying and racism investigation” The Guardian. October 7, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/oct/07/womens-health-organisation-president-resigns-following-bullying-and-racism-investigation (accessed March 31, 2022).
Source: Germain, Adrienne. "Having Our Say: Intellectual Contributions on Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health by the International Women’s Health Coalition, 1987-2011" Adrienne Germain Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, SSC-MS-00778, Smith College Special Collections, Northampton, Massachusetts, 2016. https://findingaids.smith.edu/repositories/2/archival_objects/181883 (accessed March 31, 2022)
Source: “Women’s Declaration on Population Policies.” Development in Practice 3, no. 2 (1993): 116–21. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4028955 (accessed March 31, 2022).
195 Gigabytes (84,106 digital files)
130.667 linear feet (275 containers)
Language of Materials
The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) advocated for women’s reproductive rights and health between 1984 and 2021. The IWHC acted as a comprehensive resource for sexual and reproductive health information, data and recommendations. The materials in the collection document the International Women's Health Coalition’s (IWHC) work as an advocate, funder, and global partner in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and adolescents. The bulk of records contain materials related to IWHC grantees, programs, fundraising, international policymaking, and research.
All records in this collection remain arranged in the original order in which they were received from the donor.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff or email email@example.com to request the creation of and access to digital copies.
Content was received from the donor in digital form and is not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request access to digital content. Note that Special Collections may not be able to provide the required software to read all files.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by the International Women's Health Coalition in 2021.
In December of 2021, this collection was selected for permanent retention within the Sophia Smith Collection by Maureen Cresci Callahan as evidence of a shift in reproductive health and international development frameworks in the late 20th century. Materials in this collection also provide an institutional counterpoint to the papers of Adrienne Germain and Joan Dunlop (both stewarded by the Sophia Smith Collection) as well as documentation of the dissolution of the International Women’s Health Coalition.
Prior to the donation of this collection, Smith College Special Collections staff requested organizational emails, primarily the outbox of the former President, be transferred to the Sophia Smith Collection for permanent retention. During the acquisition process, the IWHC’s Board of Directors independently selected materials from their archive to send to Smith College and excluded institutional emails from the donation due to privacy concerns. Their concerns related to independent investigations conducted in 2020 on workplace racism, relationships with grantees, and pay equity analysis. The investigations were prompted by a July, 2020 open letter written by former Black and women of color IWHC staff members documenting experiences of institutional racism and workplace toxicity. During the external investigations, IWHC staff members were encouraged to submit information about their experiences via email. The Board of Directors deemed this correspondence had been submitted in trust and the emails were not be made available to the Sophia Smith Collection.
During accessioning, major publications (books and journals), recordings (video and sound) from other organizations, unlabeled media, and duplicates were removed and discarded.
This collection was accessioned in 2022 by Claire Clusin, Amy Kitmacher, Carolina Quezada Meneses, and Althea Topek.
The materials arrived to the archives in two separate shipments, one consisting of paper and audio-visual records formerly stored in an offsite facility, and one consisting of an external hard drive of migrated files formerly stored on a SharePoint site. Paper and audio-visual material were removed from original storage and placed in archival housing.
In consultation with the Digital Archivist, Carolina Quezada Meneses, via email and Zoom calls, electronic records were migrated from the SharePoint site by IWHC staff to an external hard drive. When content was downloaded from SharePoint, original file metadata was lost. As such, the dates in which the files were created and last modified were lost. In some cases, date information is recorded in the file names. The files were migrated from the hard drive to networked storage for preservation and access. File lists were created for each of the six top-level folders described in subseries.
The donor provided container listings for their paper and audio-visual records and original order has been maintained.
- Finding aid to the International Women's Health Coalition records
- Claire Clusin, Amy Kitmacher, Carolina Quezada Meneses, and Althea Topek
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063