100,000 Women March

By: Nicole Mclaren

Sometimes, especially recently, we get caught up in national politics and social issues that we forget to recognize the struggles experienced in other parts of the world. It is important to not only acknowledge the struggles other people face but the wins that they have. Late last year the Polish government tried to restrict (even more so) access to abortion. The law the government proposed would have banned all abortions unless the women’s life was at risk.

Over 100,000 people protested the abortion ban which if passed threatened pregnant women seeking an abortion and doctors with jail time. These protesters had their voice heard. The law was shut down in a vote by Parliament with 352 votes against it and only 58 in favor.

The ban was proposed by a citizen’s initiative, a private organization raised almost half a million signatures to support the ban. The government of Poland is one that is far right and the Catholic church is highly influential. It was clear that they stood on the side of religious conservatives when they moved forward to a vote on the ban but failed to vote on a petition that proposed unrestricted access to abortions in the first trimester.

Women used social media to organize a day of resistance. They planned on wearing only black and asked those who were able to go on strike. With over 100,000 women and others taking the streets to protest the ban the government backed down. This is an illustration of the power of organizing.

Poland still has some of the harshest laws on abortion. Only those who are victims of rape or incest, when the health of the mother or fetus is threatened can a woman get an abortion. There is room for improvement to say the least. With the momentum of the protests late last year there is hope that change can come to these outdated laws.

In the US we have greater access to reproductive healthcare and more options than the women in Poland who essentially must travel to another country to have an abortion. It is important to acknowledge this and work to protect these rights. If you are looking for a way to get involved contact your local Planned Parenthood and start volunteering. There is a place for you in the fight for reproductive rights!


When Women are Leaders

By: Cassandra Hedrick

Women are not typically found in leadership roles, especially in the workplace. In fact, only a quarter of chief executives are women and most of that is because of women who own their own businesses. This is because of two main reasons: men tend to be favored for management positions and are given the experience that leads to them, while women get stuck in a cycle of bias. Because women are unable to prove their ability in management positions, they are not given management positions, causing them to not be able to prove their ability.

In this study from the American Psychological Association, men and women in leadership positions were observed. While women tend to use mentor style leading and men tend to use commander style leading, it was found that they are in fact equally effective in leadership positions. Actually, Alice Eagly, PhD noted that in some ways, women are actually more effective in leader ships positions.

There is no reason for women not to have leadership positions. They are equally effective as men, if not more, but because they have not had a chance to prove themselves, they are not given the chance. One organization working to give them a change is the Institute for Women’s Leadership. They provide training programs for businesses that help them get more women into leadership positions. It is important for women to demand and strive for leadership positions in the workplace, because they can and will do great things. You can do this by starting to apply for higher positions in any organization you are involved in, like clubs or teams at school. So, girls, get out there and show the world who’s boss.

Do’s and Don’ts of Condom Use

It is important to always use a condom when having sex. However, condom usage can be tricky. It is not as simple as simply putting a condom on and being protected from everything. So, here is a list of do’s and don’ts on condom use.

Do Always use a condom

Even if you or your partner are on birth control, that does not protect against STDs. It is important to use a condom because it protects yours and your partner’s genitals from bodily fluids that may carry diseases.

Don’t reuse condoms

Condoms are only good for one use. If you try to reuse one, it will most likely break or spread old bodily fluids. It will also be difficult to put back on.

Do check the expiration date on your condoms

Condoms can expire. When a condom expires, it become weaker and is more likely to break.

Don’t keep condoms in your wallet

Condoms should be kept in cool, dry places. Wallets can become dark and hot, which can weaken the condom and cause it to break.

Do put the condom on before any contact with your partner’s genitals

STDs can be transmitted through other bodily fluids, not just semen. It is possible to catch one even if someone do not ejaculate inside their partner. Be sure you put a condom on before there is any contact between you and your partner’s genitals.

Don’t unroll the condom before you put it on

To put in a condom, you should pinch the tip of the condom while it is still rolled up. Place it on the tip of the penis and unroll it to the base.

Do use water based lubricants

While you can get condoms that are already lubricated, you can also use other lubricants. KY Jelly and most other brands of sexual lubricant are water based and should not hurt latex condoms.

Don’t use oil based products

Don’t use baby oil, coconut oil, cooking oils, or petroleum jelly. These can degrade the latex and weaken the condom.

Do always use a condom

Yes, I already said that. Yes, it is that important. ALWAYS use a condom.

Don’t use more than one condom

Putting on more than one condom will cause friction and make it more likely that the condom will break. This can also happen if you try and use a male condom and a female condom at the same time.

Condom use is very important and will keep you completely safe from STDs and pregnancy if you use them right. Just keep these dos and don’ts in mind to practice safe sex.

The Freedom of Decision: Marriage and Child-Raising are a Choice, Not a Requirement

By: Jillian James

Sociologists are noticing a trend among modern women: they are getting married and having children at lower rates than ever before. Why? Why are women choosing to delay or forgo the experiences of marriage and childbirth, the two things that used to be so commonplace that it seemed like a requirement for women?

Part of it stems from the fact that marriage used to be something that was tied to economics and, for most women, was the only way that they could provide for themselves. Up until very recently in history women haven’t had very many opportunities to attend college, make their own incomes, and forge their own futures. They had to depend on marriage and their spouse to provide for them. The patriarchal structure of society meant that women had to get married at a young age or risk falling into financial despair or becoming dependent on their parents.

Now in modern society, women are finally being given choices. Marriage and child rearing are absolutely wonderful life paths, but they are no longer their only life paths.

Both men and women are now focused on carving lives for themselves and finding their own personal fulfillment before marrying. The emphasis is now on cultivating a relationship with a person and searching for a partner that you truly connect with. Taking the time to grow with your partner before marriage could potentially lead to less divorce and stronger relationships.

Women are also choosing to forgo marriage entirely, focusing on other facets of their lives. They may focus on careers or their own personal well being and fulfillment, or enter domestic partnerships. Many women who don’t marry are still in satisfying and enriching relationships with their partners.

Many women are also choosing not to have children or to delay childbirth until later in life. This could be because women are taking the time to pursue their own personal passions, like traveling, or are waiting until they are sure that they are financially stable and have achieved their own personal goals before having children.

In the end, choosing whether or not to get married or have a child is a personal choice, a choice that every individual woman should make for herself. A woman should always be the one who makes the choice to marry and have children, because then she will be happy and fulfilled with her life and relationships. In modern society, women have the freedom and the power to create their own lives, and that is a remarkable thing.



Keeping Your Vagina Clean

Many women worry about keeping their vagina clean, especially since vaginas can have a smell. There are also a lot of bacteria in the vagina, but don’t worry, they’re good bacteria. You’ve seen or heard of a variety of perfumed soaps, washes, and douches that will keep your vagina clean and smelling fresh, but they are completely unnecessary. Vagina’s are generally self-cleaning and you really only need simple soap and water in the shower to keep it at its best.

According to Professor Ronnie Lamont of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists “Vagina’s contain more bacteria than anywhere else in the body.” Again, don’t worry, it’s good bacteria. These bacteria protect the vagina against bad bacteria and keep the Ph level of your vagina balanced. This is why you want to stay away from perfumed washes and douches. They can kill the good bacteria and cause a Ph imbalance, which can lead to a lot of irritation.

Don’t worry too much about keeping your vagina clean. It generally will do that on its own. All you need it some plain soap and a soft wash cloth in the shower and you’ll be fine. If you use perfumed washes or douches they can just make things worse and disrupt the natural cleaning you vagina does on its own.

Girl Power: Five Incredible Women Who Helped Advance Women’s Rights

By: Jillian James

  1. Malala Yousafzai

Malala is a Pakistani advocate for girl’s education and inspired the world with her remarkable story of survival. In 2012 a member of the Taliban came onto Malala’s school bus and shot her in the head. She had become a target for the Taliban after speaking out and advocating for Pakistani girls’ right to education. She miraculously survived the murder attempt and went on to speak across the world about the importance of access to quality education. In 2014 she became the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize.


  1. Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Ginsberg has worked tirelessly for many years as an advocate for women’s rights. After graduating from Cornell University, she originally enrolled in Harvard Law School and was one of only nine women in her class of approximately 500. She would later transfer and graduate in the top of her class from Columbia Law School.

She had a rough start to her legal career and was turned down from many jobs because of her gender. She would later be hired as a professor at Rutgers University and become the co-founder of the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, the first law journal in the U.S. to focus exclusively on women’s rights. As a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsberg became an outspoken and influential national leader.


  1. Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem was a leader of the second wave feminist movement that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. After graduating from Smith College, she became a journalist and writer. She went undercover as a Playboy Bunny waitress to expose Playboy’s sexist and demeaning treatment towards their workers and wrote and spoke out about several other women’s issues such as legalized abortion. Today is still incredibly involved in politics and continues to give speeches about women’s rights.

  1. Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was raped at the young age of eight and after her assault she didn’t speak for over four years. During that time she read every book that she could get her hands on and focused on self-education. She would later write the famous book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which is about overcoming racism and trauma through the power of education and inner strength. Since then she was written an extensive collection of books and poems and became a professor at Wake Forest University. She became a national symbol of the strength and tenacity of women and inspired other women to tell their own stories.


  1. Serena Williams

Sometimes called “the best athlete of all time”, Serena Williams proved to the world that women could be dominant athletes. She is known for ushering in a new era of tennis with her sister, Venus, and for inspiring girls and women across the world to get involved with athletics. She had to overcome adversity and sometimes wasn’t accepted by the tennis community because she was black. She overcame several injuries and setbacks to become known as the best female tennis player the world had ever seen and broke gender and racial barriers in athletics.


Sexual Health: What it is

By Nicole Mclaren


Before writing this article about sexual health I thought that it was focused on the physical aspect like STIs and their prevention, through researching this topic I have come to understand what it actually means. Sexual health has to do with not only the physical but also the social and mental well-being in relation to sexuality.

To be sexually healthy one should possess a positive approach to sexuality and their sexual relationships. Sexual health is related to other human rights like the right to be any sexual orientation without facing discrimination and gender equality. This means that the social setting in which one is engaging in sexual acts can impact the person’s sexual health. So someone who is not free to be informed about their choices for reproduction is someone who is not able to live a sexually healthy life. Without the fulfillment of human rights sexual health is absent from a society and therefore from the individual.

The lack of access to health care especially reproductive health care impacts the lives of young people across the globe. The U.S. has a relatively high adolescent birth rate, 27 out of 1000 15-19 year olds has a child. This is higher than almost every western European country and is only one off from India’s adolescent birth rate. We must understand that this is not always a choice by young people and it speaks more to the social norms and access to reproductive health care and education.

This aspect of sexual health can impact the rest of someone’s life. In the U.S. teen mothers are less likely to graduate from high school and are more likely to live in poverty than their peers. In order to prevent both mothers and children from facing these obstacles we must provide education about sexual health and access to birth control for young women. The education about sexual health must focus on evidence-based education instead of abstinence based education.



A Path Towards Violent Free Sex

By Nicole Mclaren

The term sexual violence refers to sexual activity that occurs without freely given consent. The definition includes a variety of different experiences even sexual harassment even without contact. Sexual violence is still a significant problem in the U.S. According the the Center for Disease Control 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men reported being raped at some point in their life. Over 35% of the women who were raped, were raped between the ages of 18-24. While women are more at risk than men, transgender folks are at even higher risk for being victims of sexual violence. It is important to remember that sexual violence does not impact everyone in the same way and other social identities and situations can influence one’s vulnerability and access to help after the violent act.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) tells us that there are ways that you can prevent being sexually assaulted like not posting your location on social media, staying alert and knowing your resources. There are also ways to help others if you are a witness to the assault. You can create a distraction, ask directly, enlist others in the situation, or call the authorities. It is important that we know our role in preventing and dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault.

If you know someone who is a survivor of sexual assault the first thing that you should remember to do is to listen to them and refrain from judging them or the situation. It is important that you encourage them to seek medical attention and mental health support. RAINN offers a hotline for victims of sexual violence. 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org



Sex Education in America: Why Abstinence Only Education Does More Harm Than Good

By: Jillian James


Abstinence only education is sexual education that promotes and teaches abstinence until marriage. Discussion of different types of birth control, STDs and STIs, and other sexual topics are excluded completely. Abstinence only education also for the most part only discusses heterosexual relationships and doesn’t provide a depth of information on LGBTQ+ issues.

Abstinence education does more harm than good. It is incredibly important to provide comprehensive sexual education in schools because it gives students the power to makes informed decisions about their bodies and their sexual health. According to Advocates for Youth, 88% of millennials support comprehensive sex education.

Comprehensive sexual education gives students the power of knowledge and the resources to be healthy. By discussing sexuality, it becomes less stigmatized and students grow up feeling more self-actualized and confident about their identity and their bodies. Abstinence only education makes sex and sexuality seem shameful and causes students to have low self esteem and question their natural desires.

The idea that teenagers in high school must be “shielded” from comprehensive sexual education is ridiculous and counter intuitive. Teenagers are exposed to sex and sexual acts through music, movies, and pop culture and it is crucial that they are given medically correct information that is taught by a professional.

It is also important to note that the message of abstinence can be taught effectively while still providing comprehensive sexual education. Several studies have shown that providing comprehensive sexual education does not make the teen pregnancy rate go up. In fact, teen pregnancy rates have been dropping over the past few years and many studies owe that fact to wider contraception access and education.

Take steps to educate yourself and research sexual education in your area. If you have any questions at all about sexual health, Planned Parenthood clinics are available to provide educational services and professional help and advising. You can find your local Planned Parenthood and learn more about the educational services they offer at PlannedParenthood.org.

Marriage before the Age of Consent

By: Nicole Mclaren

Childhood marriage is something that usually we do not think of happening in the U.S. but the definition of a childhood marriage is any marriage in which the parties are under 18. In almost every state this is legal but the requirements to get the marriage certificate changes between states.
The national average is about 5 out of 1000 underage people are married. The two states that have the highest average are Texas and West Virginia both averaging around 7 out of 1000 15-17 year olds being married. Still other states have outdated laws that allow 12 year old girls and 14 year old boys to marry with parental consent. in 2014 there were over 57,000 15-17 year olds married in the US, 55% of them were women.

According to Human Rights Watch, one out of four girls in the world will marry before the age of 18. There are over 7 million women and over 1 million men in the world who are in a childhood marriage. The over representation of girls in childhood marriages in the US and around the world is alarming. It is because of the rights of women and girls being an afterthought in cultures across the globe. Childhood marriage is an outdated system and we should be working to address it in the US and around the world.
Currently there is a bill being proposed in the New York state legislature that seeks to end child marriage by changing the age of marriage from 14 to 17. In the first decade of the 21st century over 3000 children were married in New York. Human Rights Watch has started an email to legislators in the state to push them to pass this bill. The organizations and politicians that support this bill are seeking to help protect the rights of these children, mostly girls married to adult men. Click the link to put your voice in!