Disclaimer: I am not a professional! If you want to find a professional sex educator please look at http://fuckyeahsexeducation.tumblr.com/Resources. If you have any questions, feel free to ask on my ask site: http://fyseq.tumblr.com/ask, though check out http://fuckyeahsexeducation.tumblr.com/FAQ!
How Sexism, The Patriarchy, and Gender Roles Effect Sexual Health
In many settings, gender norms condone specific beliefs, behaviours, and expectations of adult women and men, contributing to the health risks and vulnerabilities that affect women and men throughout their lives. Relative to men, women and girls are often socialized to be passive and under-educated about their sexual and reproductive health. Sexuality—a topic that encompasses a diverse set of desires, experiences, and needs—is typically confined to notions of purity and virginity for women and girls. Women live with pressures to conform to social norms that uniformly restrict their sexual activity within the context of marriage. They are often discouraged from taking the initiative to bring up topics related to sexual relations, to refuse to have sex or to communicate about family planning.
A dominant masculinity teaches boys and men that sexuality and sexual performance are key to masculinity. The enjoyment of sexual relations is viewed as their prerogative and they are taught to take the lead in their sexual relationships, creating significant pressure (and insecurity). Traditional views of what it means to be a man can encourage men to seek out multiple sexual partnerships and to take sexual risks. Around the world, men are taught that they are not primarily responsible for family planning and are often not held responsible for pregnancies outside of marriage.
The differing treatment of boys and girls as they grow up begins early, and it continues throughout their lives. The result is that everyone—children, young people, adults generally absorb messages about how they ought or ought not to behave or think, and early on, begin to establish divergent expectations of themselves and others as females and males. Often, these expectations unfortunately translate into practices that can harm sexual and reproductive health.
Although women more consistently suffer the negative effects of harmful gender norms across their lifetimes, societies also socialize their men, male adolescents, and boys in ways that drive poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes. In many societies, men are encouraged to assert their manhood by taking risks, asserting their toughness, enduring pain, being independent providers, and having multiple sex partners. The roles and responsibilities of breadwinner and head of the household are inculcated into boys and men; fulfilling these behaviours and roles are dominant ways to affirm one’s manhood.
If gender norms simply dictated difference and
not hierarchy, we might not be talking about them here. But gender norms as a rule establish and reinforce women’s subordination to men and drive poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes for both men and women. Women are often prevented from learning about their rights and from obtaining the resources that could help them plan their lives and families, sustain their advancement in school, and support their participation in the formal economy (Greene and Levack, 2010). Men are often not offered most sources of sexual and reproductive health information and services and develop the sense that planning their childbearing is not their domain: it is women’s responsibility.
The Impact of Reproductive Issues on Young People
I apologize for the gendering and in some ways classist language, This is from a PDF by the United Nations Population Fund “State of the World Population 2012”
"According to the most recent data, adolescents and youth account for approximately 40 per cent of unsafe abortions worldwide (Shah and Ahman, 2004). Adolescents may have
higher rates of death and disability than adult women due to delays in seeking abortion services and failure to seek care for complications. Abortion rates increase with limits to contraception, increased demand for smaller families or delayed childbearing.
Family planning aimed at young people can help prevent the leading causes of death among girls between the ages of 15 and 19: complications related to pregnancy, delivery and unsafe abortion (Patton et al., 2009). Almost all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, with more than half of these deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and almost one-third in South Asia (World Health Organization, 2012).
A comparative study of hospitalizations across 13 developing countries estimated that nearly one-fourth of women (8.5 million) who have an abortion each year experience complications that require medical attention, with about 3 million of them unable to receive the care they need (Singh, 2006).
Young girls face greater risks than adults of complications and death as a result of pregnancy. Compared to adult women, younger mothers are two-to-five times more likely to die during childbirth, and the risk of maternal death is highest among girls who have children before their fifteenth birthdays (World Health Organization,
2006). Pregnant girls age 18 or younger are at up to four times greater risk of maternal
death than women who are at least 20 years old (Greene and Merrick, n.d.).
Often overlooked, maternal morbidities are also a concern for young people. Young mothers who survive childbirth are at greater risk of suffering from pregnancy-related injuries and infections, including obstetric fistula. In sub Saharan Africa and Asia, the United Nations estimates that more than 2 million young women live with untreated obstetric fistula, a condition associated with disability and social
exclusion (World Health Organization, 2010).
In most settings, high levels of maternal death and disability reflect inequalities in access to health services and the social disadvantage and exclusion that young people face—both a cause and consequence of health risk that young people face as a consequence of pregnancy (Swann et al., 2003; Greene and Merrick, n.d.).
Nearly 95 per cent of births among adolescents take place in developing countries, and
in these countries, about 90 per cent of births to adolescents 15-19 occur within marriage (World Health Organization, 2008). Child marriage—marriage that takes place before the age of 18—is increasingly recognized as a violation of a girl’s human rights, including the right to be protected from traditional harmful practices as stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child), but it remains all too common, particularly in Africa and South Asia, where approximately half of all girls are married before age 18 (Hervish, 2011). Most married girls become pregnant not long after marriage (Godha, Hotchkiss and Gage, 2011).
Even though 75 per cent of all births among adolescents are described as “intended,” (World Health Organization, 2008), such intentions may be strongly influenced by social pressures and cultural norms, for example, that a woman prove her fertility to her husband and his family soon after marriage (Godha, Hotchkiss and Gage, 2011). For unmarried girls, pregnancy is far more likely to be unintended and to end in abortion (World Health Organization, 2008).
In Latin America, births among adolescents have declined more rapidly, but remain high, averaging 80 births per 1,000 young women per year. In a few countries, such as Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, adolescent birth rates are above 100 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19, approaching those of most sub-Saharan countries (UNFPA 2011). Adolescent pregnancy and childbearing are much higher among indigenous groups in these countries; these groups tend to be socioeconomically and educationally disadvantaged (Lewis and Lockheed, 2007). In the United States, birth rates among adolescents have recently declined among all ethnic groups to an historic low level of 34 births per 1,000 women but are still higher than they are in Western Europe (UNFPA, 2010a).
Births among adolescents are declining in most regions, but the rate of decline has slowed in some parts of the world, even reversed in some countries in sub-Saharan Africa where births among adolescents are the highest in the world (United Nations Population Division, 2012). In sub-Saharan Africa, adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 have, on average, 120 births per 1,000 per year, ranging froma high of 199 per 1,000 girls in Niger to a low of 43 per 1,000 girls in Rwanda. Over half of young women give birth before age 20 (Godha, Hotchkiss and Gage, 2011), and adolescent fertility in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa has shown little decline since 1990 (Loaiza and Blake, 2010). In the Caucasus and Central Asia, fertility among adolescents has leveled off over the past 10 years, perhaps because the region has achieved such high levels of girls’ schooling, with gender parity at the secondary level and more girls studying at the tertiary level than boys (United Nations, 2012). The only region where adolescent fertility increased between 2000 and 2010 was Southeast Asia.
The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced the recipients of a $5 million federal grant designated for abstinence-only education programs. Although President Obama has opposed funding for abstinence-only programs since the beginning of his time in office, social conservatives in Congress forced a choice during the battle to pass Obama’s landmark health care reform law in 2010: in order to support extending to health coverage to more Americans, Senate Republicans demanded to deprive students of accurate and comprehensive sexual health education.
Despite the fact that abstinence-only curricula are ineffective and, in many cases — when young adults make risky sexual decisions after abstinence education fails to equip them with the resources they need — dangerous, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) used the Senate version of the health care reform bill to restore a lapsed program that provides funding for abstinence programs. President Obama eliminated the Title V Abstinence Education program in his 2010 budget, finally doing away with the steadily increasing federal funding for abstinence programs that ballooned under the George W. Bush administration. But Hatch’s bill, which narrowly squeaked by the Senate Finance Committee, forced the Obama administration to reverse that decision in order to pass health care reform.
And earlier this month, the Title V funds that Hatch insisted on tacking onto Obamacare were distributed to nine organizations that provide “mentoring, counseling and adult supervision to promote abstinence from sexual activity.” Of course, abstinence-only curricula advance those goals while neglecting to impart accurate information about methods to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as failing to include comprehensive discussions about sexuality and the LGBT community.
Although the Obama administration attempted to take a step forward by moving to eliminate Title V funds, social conservatives’ insistence on clinging to a misguided approach to sex education has brought the country right back — ensuring that federal funds will be spread over abstinence programs for the next two years. As the spokesperson for the right-wing National Abstinence Education Association put it, “[Obama administration officials] were specifically tasked by Congress to appropriate these funds for an authentic abstinence education program. So they really had no recourse but to do just that.”
You can look up here how much money is given to a certain state for a certain level of sex education and it’s RIDICULOUS how much federal funds are being spent on abstinence only education that has proven to be ineffective and really doesn’t teach a thing.
Sandra Fluke at the Democratic National Convention.
Look. I have nothing at all against Sandra Fluke personally. But nope. It couldn’t have easily been anybody else.
There are people who speak up ALL THE TIME but no one listens to them because they are black, trans, immigrant, latin@, poor, fat, etc. (unfortunately the list is long). They take big risks to speak up but they do.
And it saddens me that we have had multiple speakers at the DNC talk specifically about reproductive rights and none of them have been women/people of color. On a larger scale, it bothers the hell out of me that women/people of color are the hardest hit by anti-choice laws/regs and yet WE RARELY SEE THEIR FACES OR HEAR THEIR VOICES.
This movement and its leaders need to start (really, should already be) asking hard questions starting with: Are we just fighting for reproductive rights or are we fighting for reproductive justice? On nights like tonight, when I see Cecile Richards tweet about her younger-generation doppleganger, “Sandra Fluke speaks for the next generation,” I know the answer and I don’t like it.(via keepyourbsoutofmyuterus)
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“In Canada, access to health services is guaranteed by the Canada Health Act. Abortion is considered a safe, legal, insured and funded service, meaning that a woman should not have to pay for abortion services in Canada.
However, access is variable across the country and women are charged fees at some facilities. For example:
- There are no abortion services in Prince Edward Island.
- In New Brunswick, to have a publicly funded abortion a woman has to have approval from two doctors to have an abortion in the hospital. If she has an abortion at the clinic, then she will have to pay as the province will not pay for abortions outside publicly funded facilities, such as hospitals.
- New Brunswick funds only abortion care provided by obstetrician/gynecologists, not family physicians as is common throughout the rest of Canada.
Some of these barriers may violate the Canada Health Act and the intent of the decriminalization of abortion in Canada.
Abortion is funded under provincial and territorial health plans, and coverage varies regionally.”
-National Abortion Federation of Canada
I felt like this would be a good resource to circulate. There seems to be some confusion about what is covered in Canada in terms of abortion services and how this coverage varies by region. This chart is pretty handy.
[NB: not only those who identify as women need access to abortion services]