New QU organization starts the overdue discussion on women’s health


Amanda Riha

Illustration by

Neha Seenarine, Arts & Life Editor

If half of the population are women, why is it difficult to open up the discussion on their health?

Madison Murphy, co-founder of Quinnipiac University’s Women’s Health Organization and molecular and cell biology graduate student explained half of the world’s population are women and experience similar health issues.

 “So when we’re talking about health concerns, and the fact that we’re ignoring, essentially 50% of the population is a detriment,” Murphy said.

WHO is a new organization on campus this semester with a mission to bring awareness to gynecological health issues through the community. The club focuses on preparing resources for the student body and young women in the Hamden community.

Co-founder and sophomore biology major Chelsea Enabosi is a Nigerian native and noticed the culture in the U.S. surrounding women’s health was similar to Nigeria — no one wanted to talk about it.

“When the conversations do happen, there is a lot of cutting corners, people are trying to almost find alternative words for periods or cancers,” Enabosi said. “They try to make it very simplified and that could actually be very difficult for women who are actually dealing with this issue.”

Enabosi recalled the feedback WHO received when the organization tabled at the engagement fair in the beginning of the academic year. She said students and professors were sharing positive reactions for opening the discussion of women’s health.

“Whenever I would distribute flyers, a lot of girls would come in groups,” Enabosi said. “They would say, ‘Oh my god, I have endometriosis. Oh my god, I have PCOS.’”

The Office on Women’s Health reports that 11% of American women between the age of 15-44 have endometriosis, when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Also, 1 in 10 women suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problem that may affect their overall health and appearance.

Murphy said women are often taught to be ashamed when it comes to speaking up on their health and aren’t provided the right resources.

“Women’s Health is, as you know, a taboo topic, right? No one likes to talk about what goes on,” Murphy said. “These young women aren’t learning about their bodies and so they’re not asking the right questions. That can be if you’re not recognizing the signs and symptoms of certain things, and you’re allowing them to progress, you don’t want them to progress too far.”

WHO plans to provide educational resources to the Quinnipiac community simply with people walking by the organization’s tabling events in the Carl Hansen Student Center.

“A conversation of, ‘This is what proper hygiene looks like when you’re on your period, or this is what you should be on the lookout for if your boobs are sore after (an) extended period of time,’” Murphy said. “I’m not going to be able to diagnose you, but I like to be able to point you in the right direction.”

Catherine Takizawa, WHO’s faculty advisor and assistant teaching professor of biology said the organization brings people together to discuss women’s health-related topics, “Together we can make a bigger impact than each person working in isolation.”

The organization is looking forward to having conversations with both women and male-dominant clubs whether it is Greek life or sports teams.

“They might have daughters, they might have sisters, friends, and other family members who are affected by these things,” Murphy said. “We want to make sure that it’s a cohesive conversation between everybody, and that everybody is aware of everything.”

Enabosi looks to expand WHO beyond the Quinnipiac community and teach young women how to advocate for themselves.

“I see a lot of fundraising events that will help create funds (and) resources for a lot of women who don’t have access to pads, or sanitary resources during their periods,” Enabosi said. “ I also do see us creating curriculums, remaining a permanent part of the Hamden public education for girls who need that like extra source of information.”