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Despite Legal Restrictions, Many Brazilian Women Have Abortions

Posted: June 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Despite Legal Restrictions, Many Brazilian Women Have Abortions

A new survey conducted in Brazil and coordinated by Debora Diniz, a member of IWHC’s Board of Directors, reveals that despite its current criminality, "one out of seven urban women age 18-39 has had an abortion." That amounts to "approximately 5 million Brazilian women who’ve gotten abortions," Denise Hirao writes at Akimbo. Of those women, 55 percent, more than 2.5 million women, "were hospitalized due to complications of the procedure" thanks to the fact that "the restrictive laws in Brazil [mean] women who manage to get abortions frequently are subjected to unsafe and unsanitary conditions."

"The survey reveals the face of the woman who has an abortion," Diniz said. "She is not someone else, she is one of us. She is our colleague, our neighbor, our sister, our mother. In general, she has a partner and follows a religion." Hirao asks, by supporting anti-choice laws "are [Brazllian officials] really saying that 5 million women should be incarcerated?" Technically, I guess they are.

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IRIN Asia | BANGLADESH: Educating girls lowers maternal death rate | Asia | Bangladesh | Gender Issues Health & Nutrition | News Item

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on IRIN Asia | BANGLADESH: Educating girls lowers maternal death rate | Asia | Bangladesh | Gender Issues Health & Nutrition | News Item

Maternal mortality rates (MMRs) in Bangladesh have more than halved in less than a decade, down from 724 deaths per 100,000 births to only 338, and correlate with higher education levels, according to a study in The Lancet, a British medical journal. "Improving the education of women has been a key factor in bringing down the MMR," an IRIN News article reads. "Increased access to education has had huge ramifications in socioeconomic development and maternal mortality. […] Women who are better informed are also more active in making family planning choices."

The article says lack of female medical professionals is a major cultural obstacle, because women "are not comfortable with male health workers." Associate health director of BRAC, a Dhaka, Bangladesh-based NGO, said, "If we want a long-term and sustained decline in MMR, we have to invest in the education and employment of women."

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FDA Committee hearing on Flibanserin tomorrow (18 June) – how you can keep up with the meeting

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on FDA Committee hearing on Flibanserin tomorrow (18 June) – how you can keep up with the meeting

Medical professionals have been warning against Flibanserin, a new drug created by pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) to address "hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women," or low sex drive. As Dr. Petra Boynton writes, "concerns have included the measures used to assess sexual satisfaction, the trials undertaken to assess the product, safety/efficacy questions, marketing strategies aimed at practitioners and the public, and the fact the research has not been made available within a peer reviewed journal. […] These issues are part of a wider anxiety over the increasing medicalisation of reduced female sexual desire."

Dr. Boynton and other practitioners have been critical of the blasé attitude with which mainstream media have treated their concerns, calling it "a pity that journalists covering this story could not have perhaps applied a more critical lens," and touting the use of Internet activism on blogs and Twitter for ensuring the FDA asks BI the tough questions.

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Update: Dr. Boynton has published a followup article that informs us of Flibanserin’s rejection by the FDA. She says, the FDA was “concerned about the materials used in trials to measure sexual response, the trial outcomes (which suggested Flibanserin did not perform much better than placebo) analysis of the data, and overall management of the trial. The FDA did not, however, dismiss HSDD generally and indicated it was a problematic condition they recognised.” Boynton details some lessons to be learned from the media coverage and reminds us that “we need to be aware that while there is now some critical coverage about the medicalisation of sexuality there is also a long way to go to get journalists to ask basic questions about drug company funded research in this area.”


Fewer than one in 10 women say sex before marriage is a bad idea | canada.com

Posted: June 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fewer than one in 10 women say sex before marriage is a bad idea | canada.com

A recent survey by Weddingbells, a Canadian bridal magazine, of over a thousand brides-to-be, showed that only 8 percent of women stated that they felt sex before marriage was a bad idea – and only 4 percent said they felt strongly about those opinions. This despite a recent strong swell in the cultural ethos of saving-oneself, currently being promulgated by everything from school sex education to popular books and TV shows like Twilight and Glee. In truth, this seems to indicate not a change in behavior, but a change in reporting, as the American reproductive health think-tank found that in women under 44, 9 in 10 had had sex before marriage – even those born in the 1940s. This is certainly a positive change, as increasingly, young people are choosing not to marry at all, and it would certainly be sad if the 50 percent of young people projected to opt out of wedlock had to opt in to celibacy with it!

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Why Do Women Leave Science And Engineering? – Forbes.com

Posted: June 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Why Do Women Leave Science And Engineering? – Forbes.com

According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, coauthor of the report "The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology," women leave careers in engineering and science more often than men. Professor of economics Jennifer Hunt, Ph.D., notes that "the most important driver of excess female exits from engineering is dissatisfaction over pay and promotion opportunities, a factor explaining about 60% of the gender differential in exit rates." This is concerning American policy analysts, who have noted a decline in scientific publishing.

Hunt further notes the career exit gender gap is most prominent in fields that have the highest portion of male students, i.e., engineering. She says this contributes to a culturally-induced cycle where women lack opportunities men in these fields have. "Explanations hinging on the precise nature of engineering work should be discarded," Hunt says. "Instead remedies should be applied to all fields with a high share of male workers."

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Just How Bad Is Porn, Anyway? : The Thoughtful Animal

Posted: June 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Citing numerous studies, developmental psychology post-grad Jason G. Goldman writes, "in general both males and females report overall positive effects of pornography UNLESS they are not sexually fulfilled […] in which case they report negative effects." His research was sparked by claims to the contrary made by religiously-backed Stop Porn Culture, whose upcoming conference features Women's Studies Professor and character assassin Donna M. Hughes.

Goldman notes it's "impossible to infer causality" from current literature but "this data suggests very strongly that pornography is not a direct cause of aggression against women; rather, pornography moderates the relationship between sexual promiscuity/hostile masculinity and sexual aggression." According to him, "people who are meeting…to denounce pornography might redirect their efforts at improving the quality of sex education in our schools."

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Update: A key figure in the pro-porn argument, Violet Blue, says Goldman’s research “is a huge change for the entire discussion.”


BBC News – Cameron backs ‘limited’ anonymity for rape accused

Posted: June 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on BBC News – Cameron backs ‘limited’ anonymity for rape accused

Rape defendants in the UK may enjoy the protection of anonymity "to cover the period between arrest and charges" in addition to the duration of a trial until conviction, as Prime Minister David Cameron "appears to have given some ground on proposals to grant anonymity to those accused of rape." According to BBC reports, Labour party leader Harriet Harman disagreed with the proposal, saying "It sends a devastating message to rape victims that uniquely of all victims they are not to be believed."

According to official figures, "only 6% of all reports of rape to the police lead to a conviction," yet Mr. Cameron "describ[ed] the current conviction rate as a 'scandal'" and "told MPs that all parties wanted to increase the number of successful rape prosecutions and to send more rapists to jail." Rapists are often most successfully prosecuted only after "previous victims find the courage to come forward," Ms. Harman says. Activists say the policy helps protect rapists, not their victims.

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Tiger Beatdown › On Heavy Girls and Sexy Time

Posted: May 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Tiger Beatdown › On Heavy Girls and Sexy Time

Responding to MSNBC reports of an unpublished study saying "overweight girls are more likely to start having sex early, to have multiple partners during their teen years, and to eschew condoms compared to thinner teens," Silvana at TigerBeatdown.com explains why the report is badly biased. She says, "There is so much wrong with the analysis of this study’s results," which predictably cites male lust and girls' low self-esteem as causes for the study's findings.

"Do we understand so little about sex that we think the question of who’s having sex and who’s not is just about who is the most attractive to men? […] According to this analysis, the correlation goes like this: fat→low self-esteem→can’t say no→sexy time." Silvana says a combination of "fatness-shame" and "anti-sex messages" work hand-in-hand to make younger girls "undergo deep, deep dissociation with their bodies" at the onset of puberty.

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Tampon photo incites controversy at the Fashion Institute « Blogging Censorship

Posted: May 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Tampon photo incites controversy at the Fashion Institute « Blogging Censorship

Artwork "composed of a number of seemingly used tampons on a bright red background" were covered up by the Fashion Institute of Technology's squeemish administrators during the opening night show for the art and design college. Despite warning that the show "may not be appropriate for all individuals" and the presence of other students' work depicting nudity and violence done to women's faces, the tampon artwork was the only piece censored by special request from the Dean.

Student artist Jessica Chow said, "many people who saw my piece have said 'this is an art school, are you kidding me?!' So much hypocrisy." The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) calls the FIT Dean's actions "a classic act of censorship" that "suggests there is something possibly obscene/shameful/indecent about the image" depicting used tampons. The NCAC is now calling on FIT administrators to "reconsider their decision to treat an image of tampons—ordinary enough objects—as shameful and dangerous."

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Christian Anti-Porn Activists Now Targeting Female "Porn Addicts" | AlterNet

Posted: May 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

If you're a woman who watches 1 hour of pornography a week or enjoys such lurid acts as masturbation, lustful thinking or self-gratification, you're a "porn addict," according to several Christian anti-porn activist groups like XXXChurch and Dirty Girls Ministries. "Now women have fallen under fire for their naughty consumption, as Anti-porn activists such as XXXChurchand Dirty Girls Ministries have targeted women for porn addiction," Lorna D. Keach writes. The refocusing on women by anti-porn activists comes at a time when women are more often consumers of porn. "According to Theresa Flynt, vice president of marketing for Hustler video,female consumers make up 56% of video sales."

Their message is similar to the one emerging from other Church groups. "It’s an injustice that the church is not more open about physical sexuality. God created sex. But the enemy has twisted it," Dirty Girl Ministries administrator Crystal Renaud says. I guess that enemy is me since I sure do masturbate!

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