Category Archives: Women’s Health

Education Rights for Women (Or lack there of)

By: Cassandra Hedrick

In first world countries like America there is not really a gap between boys and girls school attendance. However, in many countries around the world there is an issue with girls not being able to get an education. In Afghanistan, girls only make up 1/3 of students and they make up 2/3s of illiterate adults worldwide. While we are moving in the direction of gender equality when it comes to education, we are not quite there. There are many factors contributing to this lack of education for girls, the main ones being poverty, race or ethnicity, and location.

Kids in poverty stricken countries are less likely to attend school. Girls are 2% less likely to go to school because they tend to stay at home and help with household duties. Similarly, girls from rural areas are less likely to attend school for the same reason, as well as because of the distance they live from schools. In parts of the world where there is a lot of war and violence, girls may not be able to attend school because it is dangerous for them to go. However, no matter where are in the world, racial and ethnic minorities always attend school at lower rates. This means the gender disparities are accentuated.

We need to pay more attention to gender inequality in education. Just because we don’t see it very often in America, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen all over the world. There are gender disparities in education, caused by poverty, location, and race. If you want to help fix this, you can visit the United Nations Girls Education Initiative to find out more.

Women in Prison: It’s nothing like Orange is the New Black

By: Cassandra Hedrick

Men and women’s prisons are very different from each other. For example, men’s prisons tend to have higher security than women prisons. But even though men and women are separated in prison, there is still an issue of gender inequality. There are only 170 women’s prisons in America and they are not funded as well as the men’s prisons. This causes women prisoners to return to prison at a higher rate, which is known as recidivism.

Even though women’s prisons tend to be more comfortable, they are not as good as men’s prisons. Women tend to stay in dormitories or cottages, rather than cells. Also, like I said before, they have much less security and therefore more freedom. However, they lack in rehabilitation programs. This is a serious issue because many women inmates have substance abuse problems and mental illnesses. Meanwhile, men’s prisons have more rehabilitation programs due to the amount of violent offenders; prisons feel as though they need to rehabilitate them for the protection of the community. This lack of rehabilitation programs is what causes the much higher rates of recidivism for women prisoners.

While the rate of women in prison has tripled since 1980, the funding has not. Just because women get more freedom in prison and the facilities may look nicer, they still aren’t as good as men’s prisons where is counts. Their severe lack of rehabilitation programs causes the inmates to suffer once they leave prison, and inevitably go back. Women need more rehabilitation programs in order to become successful after leaving prison.

Protections for Transgender Women Or lack Thereof

By: Cassandra Hedrick

Transgender women are one the least protected demographics in America. They are often murdered but it is rarely investigated. In many states, Transgendered individuals can be discriminated against in both housing and employment. However, they are still people and American citizens and there for are entitles to the same rights and protections as cisgendered individuals.

While things are getting better for the trans community, they are still missing many of the same rights most Americans enjoy. They are often targeted for unnecessary questioning and random pat downs by police and are not allowed to ask for an officer of a different gender. When they are in prison, Male to Female transgendered individuals are often housed in male prisons. Not to mention the fact they can be arrested for using the bathroom that does not match their biological sex.

In addition, insurance companies can refuse to cover someone who has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria (feeling as though they are a gender other than the one assigned to them at birth). Also employers are not required to provide transition related medical treatment as a part of employee insurance policies.

That being said, we are on the right track. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia all have protections for transgendered individuals. There have also been several court cases that have provided protections. For instance, the department of Housing and Urban Development is not allowed to discriminate against anyone from the LGBTQ+ community and Title VII protects them against employer discrimination in some states. Things can continue to get better if we all come together and accept trans people as people and treat them as such.

What is Intersectionality, and Why Does it Matter?

By: Jillian James

There has been a lot of discussion among feminists lately about the topic of intersectionality. But what does it mean, and why is it important? Simply put, intersectionality is the conversion and consideration of different cultures and people that are a part of the feminist community. For example, a young Latina feminist may have different priorities than a middle-aged white woman who considers herself a feminist. Being intersectional in your thinking means considering the voices and needs of ALL groups who stand by your cause.

 

The feminist community has been criticized in the past for only including the voices of white women. Scholar and professor Kimberle Crenshaw introduced the topic of intersectional feminism in a 1989 paper that she wrote entitled “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and Antiracist Politics.” She stated that black women had been excluded from feminist activities and feminist theory, and that a black woman’s race and gender could not be seen as two separate entities.

 

A key part of understanding intersectionality is comprehending that feminism is not one-size-fits-all. It is a very personal thing for each woman who decides to call herself a feminist, and every woman will have certain issues that are close to her. Some women may be concerned about he gender pay gap, while others are worried about issues like paid maternity leave or abortion access. Considering the experiences and voices of every woman of every social, racial, and economic background is the key to making feminism as inclusive and representative as possible.

SOURCES:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/01/19/feminism-intersectionality-racism-sexism-class/96633750/

http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/01/why-our-feminism-must-be-intersectional/

 

Defunding women’s healthcare worldwide

By: Nicole McLaren

https://mic.com/articles/173529/this-week-in-reproductive-rights-trump-defunds-the-un-s-maternal-health-fund#.qmpHqXwjV

The U.S. is in the position to have an impact on many issues all across the world, one of these being access to healthcare for women. The current administration has attacked women’s reproductive rights already with both words and policy not only in the US but globally. They have decided to defund the United Nation’s Global Maternal Health Organization.

This is an organization that provides reproductive healthcare including abortion services to women all over the world. According to the administration this is to prevent the UN from conducting “coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization”. This claim is baseless according to the as there is no evidence that the organization does either of these two things.

George W. Bush used the same argument to defund the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), claiming it was supporting China’s one child policy with these funds. Even though the UN has expressed that they do not support the one child policy and no funds are used to support it.

The UNFPA and UN Global Maternal Health Organization provide contraceptives, family planning services, prenatal care, abortion, sexual and reproductive health services as well as education for populations all over the planet. This will take away over $70 million from the organizations but this only makes up 7% of the organizations budget. This is not the first attack on international women’s healthcare that the administration has committed. They have reinstated the Global Gag Rule which is a ban on U.S. funding to be given to any organization that provides safe abortions.

It is important for women to have access to reproductive healthcare, including abortions, not only in the U.S. but across the globe. The current administration is working to limit access to these services for all women and we must combat that by standing up for the rights of women. One way we can do that is having access to information. The UNFPA has a newsletter that anyone can sign up for so that you can be informed about these issues. Here’s the link https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001-YNFZmXHhSP25d9kiBTi0ZxtEwaeIcM-UeLsaXPKYoHs5SAGE1WbNakIrfhkc_3wTTkXkKXbHJpBnXtbqkTATg_O174jFAyLQdNkQkPKQAk%3D&MERGE0=

How Justice Gorsuch’s could impact your ability to access healthcare

By: Nicole McLaren

The battle between Republicans and Democrats for the Supreme Court seat is officially over as Gorsuch was sworn into the lifelong position earlier this week. He is replacing Scalia who passed away and left an open seat for more than a year. There are some key things that you need to know about his views that could impact your rights to healthcare.

  • His views on abortion are unclear

He has not ruled on a case that deals with abortion. Although we can make some assumptions from his book in 2006 about assisted suicide where he states “the intentional taking of human life by a private person is always wrong”.

  • His stance on maternity leave is also not clear

Two former students have stated that he accused women of using their companies for maternity benefits. He has claimed the students misunderstood him and that he was trying to teach young women about the unfair treatment they will receive in the work place and during the interview process.

  • He has a record of putting corportations over women’s reproductive health rights

      In the Hobby Lobby case he ruled that closely held businesses are not required to provide their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the religious beliefs of the owner.

With this knowledge we can work to combat the rhetoric against women’s right to access reproductive healthcare services by working in our communities to try to ensure the safety and rights of all women. This can be done through volunteering with organizations like Planned Parenthood or even sharing the stories of how women have benefited from access to reproductive healthcare services. The US federal government has a blog that shares these stories here is the link https://www.womenshealth.gov/blog.

“Lean In”: How to Help Other Women Achieve Their Potential

By: Jillian James

In 2015, 104 women served on the United States Congress, making up only 19% of the 535 members. Currently, women only hold 5% of all Fortune 500 CEO roles. However, women make up over half of the total U.S. population.

It is absolutely vital for leadership to be diverse. The United States is comprised of a vast amount people of different genders, backgrounds, ethnicities and religions. If the leadership is equally as diverse, then different perspectives and issues will be brought to the table.

So how can we inspire more women to become involved in leadership?

When you see a fellow woman succeed, then go out of your way to acknowledge it. Encourage them to pursue their passions and instill within them the confidence to try to succeed. If you are in a leadership position, then it important that you genuinely listen to ideas and concerns of your subordinates. Be accessible to them and treat their thoughts with respect and integrity.

If you are a woman in a position of power, don’t be afraid to use your voice. Speak up and give your unique perspective on issues, and make sure that you are providing equal opportunities for others to rise up.

            By taking the time to acknowledge the power and light that each individual woman has, you can create an uplifting and positive culture where women feel empowered to use their voice and take action.

 

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/series/inspiring-leaders

http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/women-us-congress-2015

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_women_CEOs_of_Fortune_500_companies

 

 

 

 

I Switched to Organic Tampons: Here is What Happened

 

By: Cassandra Hedrick

This month I decided to try organic cotton tampons. I tried this brand called L. They have no chemicals like chlorine, rayon, dyes, or fragrances. This means they are just cotton. Plus, for every product bought from them they donate a product to a girl in a developing country.

One of the main reasons I decided to switch to organic tampons is because it reduces the chance of toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is bacterial infection that you can get from using super absorbent tampons. The chemicals found in normal tampons increases your chances of this.

After switching I found that I really liked these tampons. In my opinion, they are more absorbent than normal tampons. I was able to keep them in for about five hours at a time without any leaks, not even when I wore them overnight. I also found that I had less severe cramps. I normally have awful pelvic and abdominal cramps during my period and this month I had hardly any. Of course, this is my personal experience and yours may vary.

 

I think these tampons are good alternative to normal tampons. They don’t have chemicals and lessen the chance of TSS. They cost the same amount as normal tampons and come in an adorable jar. You can get at Target or from thisisl.com. If you want to try them out you can get 15% off here.

Sex Education: The Importance of a College’s Sexual Culture and Sexual Support Systems

By: Jillian James

When you choose a college, you may consider factors like academics and extracurricular involvement. However, it is important that you look at your potential college’s sexual culture and what resources are available on campus. This is critically important because you want to join an environment that is accepting, welcoming, and that will be able to offer a wide variety resources.

Here are some important factors to consider when judging a college’s sexual culture:

  1. Is free birth control offered on campus, like condoms? How accessible are they?
  2. Is there a women’s clinic on campus? Would you feel comfortable going there if you had an issue?
  3. Does the college offer STD/STI testing? Is it free?
  4. Is the campus friendly to the LGBTQ community? Are there clubs and events for LGBTQ students?
  5. Are there support systems in place for survivors of sexual assault and rape?
  6. Are classes offered about sex and sexuality, or is it a taboo topic academically?
  7. What is the social culture like? Do men or women control it? Is their social pressure to hook up or have casual sex?

These questions are all incredibly important because they can help you have a happy, product, and safe time at college. If some of these support structures don’t exist at your current college or university, try to implement them yourself and attempt to create a healthy sexual culture on your campus.

 

 

Reproductive Health Care Access Improves Quality of Life for Women Worldwide

 

By: Jillian James

Recently, President Donald Trump cut funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). This is an organization that aims to provide reproductive services and care to women around the world. Why is reproductive health care access so important, and what are its global impacts?

The emphasis of the importance of Reproductive Health Care is the two words health care. Sexual and reproductive health care issues are a leading cause of death and disability for women in the developing world, according to the UNFPA website. This means that restricted or no access to care kills an incredibly large amount of women each year, and that these deaths could largely be preventable if they had received aid.

Reproductive health care is vital in society to ensure that every child born is wanted. Giving women access to medical care greatly reduces the risk during pregnancy for the mother and the child as well, ensuring that both can have healthy lives. Reproductive and sexual health care access also cuts down on the rates of STDs and STIs.

In addition to reproductive health care, sexual education programs can be empowering for women who live in repressive, patriarchal societies. According to the UNFPA website, more one hundred million girls face the terrifying prospect of genital mutilation or child marriage. These practices are incredibly dangerous and oppressive ensure strip women of all their tights and bodily autonomy.\

Providing reproductive and sexual health care is absolutely vital in order to have a healthy society and can empower women to begin to make their own choices about their bodies. By supporting women now, we can ensure that the future generations are happier and healthier tomorrow.

SOURCES:

http://www.unfpa.org/about-us

https://www.bustle.com/p/trump-defunded-the-un-population-fund-its-devastating-for-women-worldwide-49117