Health Literacy is an important aspect of leadership. At Coastside Leadership Academy we want to create leaders who understand their bodies so they can make informed health decisions for themselves and others. CLA is a gender inclusive girls homeschool program, and for our Health Literacy unit, we wanted to be as inclusive as possible. We intentionally called the unit “female body health” and did not refer to the unit as “women’s health” because we recognize that not all of our students identify as young women. The purpose of the unit was to learn about health care needs and practices for female bodied individuals.
During the unit students learned about where and how to obtain health information, understand preventative health measures, and be aware of national and international public health issues. To show comprehension of these three areas, we developed a Female Body Health Project for our students. Each student was given a female body health scenario to research, learn how to handle the health issue, and then teach their findings to the group in a presentation. The scenarios were centered around STD care and prevention, contraception, and abortion. You can find a more in-depth look at our Female Body Health Unit Project and scenarios here.
We worked with our students to co-create a rubric for grading that included the aspects of the scenario they would be researching and skills they were practicing. Our students were given choices of how they wanted to present their findings. Some chose to create a slide deck, visual diagrams, or write a paper.
It was fun to watch our student’s curiosity about their own bodies grow and be introduced to the politics of regulating female bodies. The outcome of the projects were above and beyond what we expected. The final products showed that our students learned about which states had legal protections for a woman’s right to an abortion and about universal health care in other countries. They also used this opportunity to talk about the disparities in the healthcare system for women of color and the challenges they face in regards to maternal health.
The biggest point of pride for our students while completing this project was that they figured out how to solve their health scenarios on their own. We showed them how to research and the Female Body Health Project helped our students practice this valuable skill. They learned for themselves that the ability to find information is just as important as the information itself. It is our hope that when it is their turn to be lead they will apply this lesson to make informed healthcare decisions for themselves and the community.