Living in Madison we cannot help but be aware of the wide diversity of citizens in our community. Often overlooked, the underprivileged and homeless population struggle with many obstacles.

With the majority of the members of our group, For All Women, calling Madison home, it has been brought to our attention those who are disadvantaged in our area do not have proper access to health care, which can hinder their quality of life.

We demand more work be done when it comes to health care access, especially for women. Across the globe women are largely deprived of health care that takes their needs seriously. Every year more than 80,000 women in the United States develop gynecologic cancer, with 25,000 women dying each year as a result.

The importance of prevention and early treatment are crucial to saving lives, but we see a lack of support regarding this problem. Women in poverty-stricken situations can be burdened with issues pertaining to their health due to a lack of knowledge, opportunity, time or resources. This puts their well-being on a back burner, possibly even being ignored, leaving many feeling helpless and alone.

It is disheartening to see the lack of clinics in Wisconsin that focus on this issue. Those that do, struggle with funding as well as support to keep their doors open.

The combination of our passion, sympathy and concern for the women in these situations led us to create an organization that works to combat these issues in our community. Our organization, For All Women, recognizes the importance of all women having access to quality health care and support despite a lack of capital or insurance. We recognize that many women of color, women in poverty, single mothers or the uninsured are not able to access information about their health or learn to prevent health problems.

Our goal is to bring awareness to women’s health and assist in raising funds for Share the Health, a free clinic based in Madison, which offers its services to patients based on referrals to prevent replicating existing services. Share the Health recognizes the value in early detection and access to proper screening and information about symptoms and treatments.

As a clinic that runs entirely on volunteer time, Share the Health operates only one evening a month. We want to ensure these services can continue and more patients can be served. For All Women not only wants to create access to health care but encourage healthy lifestyles for all women. Women will feel more knowledgeable about their own bodies and health when raising awareness for women in these situation.

Ultimately, we want to encourage empowerment and control when it comes to their bodies.

The large task of making changes in Madison is not something we can do alone. As we look to start our first semester as a student organization on campus, we hope to attract many volunteers and members who also feel strongly and diligent in their actions to help create access to healthcare for disadvantaged women.

We recognize when women are empowered and can band together, they are able to do great things and make important and necessary changes in the world that surrounds us. It is incredibly inspiring that we have encountered so many others who, when told about our mission, feel inclined to become involved with the changes that we want to bring to Madison. Our members all share in the excitement of knowing that we are creating the steps to make the changes we want to see. We intend to keep working until we see growth and successful change and create hope in the hearts of those in need.

Kelsey Redman ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in community and nonprofit leadership. Martina Sarver ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in journalism. Both are members of For All Women.