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I’m beyond excited to announce the launch of GYNOPEDIA -- an online resource for sexual, reproductive, and women’s health care. It’s a wiki, so everyone is invited to contribute, and please, PLEASE do. The basic idea is that you search for a city -- for example, New York City -- and Gynopedia provides practical, stigma-free information based on that location. So, let’s say you want to buy tampons in Seoul, or find an LGBTQ-friendly gynecologist in Bangkok, or you need the morning after pill in Lima. Well, Gynopedia is the resource for you.
Why did I create Gynopedia? Honestly, because I couldn’t find anything like it. When I began preparing for an extended backpacking trip, I realized that I had no idea how I would get birth control in the countries that I planned to visit. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. How about annual pap smears? What if I got pregnant? Then I remembered that, at different points in my life, I have struggled to get a comprehensive STI test, or a low-cost gynecologist, along with many other services. Time and again, I’ve needed advice from local people and lacked an online resource. This made me enraged yet wildly inspired. And so Gynopedia was born.
Without going any further, if you’re curious, you can check out the format of the New York City page. The page still lacks a lot of info, but you can see how it looks. The basic idea is that Gynopedia pages are based on a location. So, to access the NYC page, simply search for “New York City.” Once the page comes up, you’ll see that it’s divided into ten categories: contraception (birth control), emergency contraception (the morning after pill), sexually-transmitted infections (STIs/STDs), medications (for things like yeast infections, UTIs, etc), menstruation (e.g. pads, tampons, menstrual cups, etc), gynecological exams, pregnancy, abortion, advocacy & counseling, and a list of resources. These topics are divided into three subsections: laws & social stigmas, what to get & where to get it, and costs. So, users can simply click on a category or subcategory, and then begin accessing information. We also support translation of pages into different languages (more info below).
Now, if you think this template sucks, or if you have suggested improvements, let me know! This is a new project, and I’m counting on the insights of the People of the Internet.
Anyway, the big beautiful goal of Gynopedia is information -- and lots of it. I’m convinced that nearly everyone has something to share. In other words, please contribute! So, let us know which contraceptives are sold at your local pharmacy. Let us know which gynecologist was especially awesome. Let us know how to ask for yeast infection medication in Hungarian or UTI treatment in Spanish. Let us know all the good stuff, please!
How to Contribute
The bread and butter of Gynopedia will be information. So, if you have ANY information to share, it will be immeasurably appreciated. Here’s how it works: First, if you want to contribute, you create an account (though it's not required!). Then, search for a location. Let’s say you live in Melbourne and you see that Melbourne doesn’t have a page yet. No problem! You can create the Melbourne page yourself (or ask me to do it for you, which I really don’t mind… contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for help of any kind).
Then, when you go into the ‘Edit’ view, paste in the template (provided in the Gynopedia Guidelines), which is the basic format of all the topics and subtopics, and you’re good to go. You can then add in tons of information -- or, if you seriously know just one fact, you can add in that one fact too. Whatever you can contribute, big or small, is fabulous and appreciated.
How to Moderate
There will be tons of information that’s outdated, inaccurate or awkwardly phrased on Gynopedia. Worse, there may be spammers or trolls. I wish that wasn’t the case -- but I’m being real, and I know it will happen. So, we’ll need some moderators. If you feel like getting your hands (digitally) dirty, and being a fact-checker and/or editor, and occasional gatekeeper of real vs. spammy/troll info, then please let me know. I would absolutely love some help, and there’s no expectation surrounding how much effort you put forth. Any help, big or small, is amazing. So, let me know if you’re down to help.
To learn more about moderation, check out our Moderate guide.
How to Translate
We support translation of Gynopedia pages into other languages. If you would like to learn how to become a translator, check out our Translate guide.
Spreading the Word
Right now, very few people know about Gynopedia yet, and that’s okay. Gotta start somewhere, right? But I do know that, if this site will be at all useful or relevant to users, we need to get the word out. That’s the only way that people will begin to read, contribute, edit, translate, and enjoy this wealth of information. So, if you can help spread the word, whether it’s sharing this post on social media or even just telling some friends, that would be so incredibly helpful, and we thank you.
Wrapping Things Up
So, to wrap things up, here’s what I’m trying to say: We talk about women’s bodies all the time. And yet we provide so little autonomy, despite the endless scrutiny. I’m no health expert or seasoned tech entrepreneur. But I’m someone who has been uninsured, in need of medication/health care, and lost in cities many times. And that’s just me. There are millions of women who have it much worse -- cut off from information and progressive health care, isolated from so many resources. So, that’s it. I got fed up with the state of things, so now I feel crazy passionate about this new ‘lil website.
So, if you feel like contributing, I’ll be so honored and grateful. If you feel like helping me with moderation, translation, or technical stuff, well, um, YES, I need it! And, if you don’t know how to help, please spread the word. Let people know. Whatever you think or feel about this project, I want to hear from you. And I promise: I will work super hard to make the site usable and accessible, publicized, and free. It’s about time something like this came around.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- and I can’t wait to learn from all of you!