Colleges Must Fill the Sex Ed Gap Left by High Schools

When it comes to preparing youth to lead healthy, sex-positive lives, we know that the state of sex education in our middle and high schools is dire. And although teaching sex ed is often considered the responsibility of middle and high schools, colleges often end up dealing with the fallout related to this lack of education.

Many first-year U.S. college students enroll in a college in the state where they live, so it’s especially important for states with lackluster high school sex ed to address it at the college level.

Baltimore Teens Fought To Provide Communities With Fast and Reliable Internet

When school went online during COVID lockdowns, Kimberly Vasquez’s unreliable WiFi started to hinder her schoolwork. Her grade point average dropped but her family could only afford the low-cost plan that wasn’t suitable for remote learning. 

Vasquez, joined by Yashira Valenzuela and Aliyah Abid, organized to petition Comcast to make their plans faster and more economical for low-income families. After rallying at Comcast headquarters, the city’s largest provider made the most affordable option for internet run at twice the speed. 

States Must Act Now to Protect Teenagers’ Reproductive Healthcare

Laws requiring parental consent for minors requiring abortion care do not help teenagers—they only delay much needed healthcare for vulnerable youth.

States overwhelmingly allow a teenager to independently consent to pregnancy care and medical treatment for her child, and even to give up her child for adoption, without notice to her parents, yet require parental notice or consent for abortion

May 2022 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

Whether you read for knowledge or leisure, books are so important. May is a big month for new releases by women and writers of historically excluded communities; I’ve highlighted 60 of them here, but there are many more. I hope you’ll find some here that will help you reflect and act in whatever ways you can. 

Hana’s Story: Tricked and Traumatized by a Fake Abortion Clinic

When Hana found out she was pregnant, she was five weeks along. As a college student living near Boston, she had numerous options for abortion healthcare. But she ended up at an anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy center” she thought was an abortion clinic. Despite the lies and coercion she experienced at the CPC, Hana persisted in her search for an abortion and eventually found real healthcare, but she worries about CPCs harming other people. Ms. spoke with Hana about her CPC experience, the effect it had on her, and why she’s speaking out now.

“When I found out I was pregnant, I was absolutely terrified. I am a teenager, in my first year of college, and far away from home—the one thing I knew was that I could not bring a child into my world. I felt so lost, like a child who lost their mother in a supermarket. I needed someone to help guide me through this, someone I could trust. I made the mistake of trusting these people, who did not hesitate to abuse it, and it has forever changed me.”

Teachers Are Heading for the Door—And They’re Not Coming Back

Over 143,000 education sector workers quit their jobs in December alone. COVID-19 has not only caused anxiety and fears among teachers for their own health and that of their families; they are also facing increased responsibility. The “feminization” of the profession has allowed it to exist in the lower rungs of society for too long.

“I no longer have too much on my plate. The plate is broken and the shards are digging into my skin, but I can’t drop what I am carrying. If I drop it, I don’t think anyone else will pick it up.”

‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bills Groom Children for Sexual Abuse, and May Even Violate Title IX

“Don’t Say Gay” bills don’t protect children—they play into the hands of child abusers, while also putting school districts in violation of Title IX. Denying a school district’s right to define a curriculum based on evidence-based research plays directly into the hands of predators who want, very much, naïve and disempowered children to prey upon.

Teenagers on State Boards of Education—Why Including the Voices of Young Women Is Essential

Eleni Livingston and Rana Banankhah, both 17 years old, are voting members of their states’ board of education. They help decide high school graduation requirements, determine teacher qualifications and develop state student assessments. They also bridge the gender gap in education leadership—since women make up only 31 percent of school district chiefs. Their experiences show the importance of student voices in policymaking.

“On the board it can be intimidating to go in, as a young woman, as a teenager, into an environment like that and jump right in and start advocating for my peers,” Livingston said.

“To be treated like an adult, even though I can’t even vote for [U.S.] president, was really eye-opening,” Banankhah said.

Female Genital Mutilation Isn’t Just a Foreign Issue

Texas Governor Greg Abbott waded into problematic territory when he called gender-affirming care for transgender minors “mutilation” and “child abuse.” His remarks generated lots of coverage and controversy, as he presumably knew they would. The irresponsible and incorrect use of the term “mutilation” takes attention away from the actual, serious problem of mutilation and cutting in the United States today. 

Worldwide, more than 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting. But it’s not just a foreign problem. More than half a million women and girls are either at risk or have undergone FGM/C in the U.S, including 51,000 in Washington, D.C. The U.S. must enact stronger legislation against the practice, while empowering and protecting those who have been subjected to FGM/C.