What We Missed

Great news today: Even though he can’t perform late-term abortions in Nebraska, Dr. Leroy Carhart announced he’s opening Carhart Centers for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Maryland, Iowa and Indiana.

Kay Steiger takes on the gender pay gap in academia.

A new study says that teen girls are 30% less likely than boys to use protection the first time they have sex. I think there’s definitely more to be evaluated before saying that girls are generally more risky sexually.

Not-an-Onion-headline of the Day: ‘The planet won’t be destroyed by global warming because God promised Noah,’ says politician bidding to chair U.S. energy committee.

A minister from Indonesia who doesn’t touch women for his conservative Muslim beliefs said that Michelle Obama forced him to touch her, though that hardly seems the case.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted November 10, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Think about the protection study carefully for a bit. Boys and girls use protection about as often as each other, because they are generally having sex with each other (rather than among themselves). So if girls are less likely to use protection the first time, then it means they are more likely to do so in subsequent encounters… relative to boys (in order to balance the total of all sexual participants, first-timers and others). What we may reasonably conclude is that girls are dictating a more frequent use of protection in future encounters AND/OR that boys are dictating a less frequent use of protection in future encounters. This conclusion must be considered carefully, because it is possible for one of the smaller statements to not just be false, but for the opposite to be true (for example, boys may increase protection use in future encounters — it would merely be the case that girls would have a larger increase in comparison).

    The gender pay gap study unfortunately does not control for field (which the article acknowledges), so it is hard to draw precise conclusions (like whether people in the same position in the same field with the same experience are facing gender discrimination in their wages). There is better evidence to support the idea that women aren’t getting into the better positions at a fair rate, but it’s hard to frame that result appropriately against family-related leave (which warrants some reform) and outright discrimination.

  2. Posted November 10, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Think about the protection study for a bit. Boys and girls use protection about as often as each other, because they are generally having sex with each other (rather than among themselves). So if girls are less likely to use protection the first time, then it means they are more likely to do so in subsequent encounters… relative to boys (in order to balance the total of all sexual participants, first-timers and others). What we may reasonably conclude is that girls are dictating a more frequent use of protection in future encounters AND/OR that boys are dictating a less frequent use of protection in future encounters. This conclusion must be considered carefully, because it is possible for one of the smaller statements to not just be false, but for the opposite to be true (for example, boys may increase protection use in future encounters — it would merely be the case that girls would have a larger increase in comparison).

    The gender pay gap study unfortunately does not control for field (which the article acknowledges), so it is hard to draw precise conclusions (like whether people in the same position in the same field with the same experience are facing gender discrimination in their wages). There is better evidence to support the idea that women aren’t getting into the better positions at a fair rate, but it’s hard to frame that result appropriately against family-related leave (which warrants some reform) and outright discrimination.

  3. Posted November 10, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    The link regarding the study about boys vs. girls use of condoms seems to be missing a key fact: if the girls and boys were having sex with each other, the numbers should be even. So it seems like there are a couple possible explanations: 1) misreporting, 2) if the question was asked in terms of condom use, as implied, gay boys would obviously be more likely to answer yes than gay girls, or, as I suspect is at least part of it, 3) the girls are having sex with older, non-teens. Folks who work on teen pregnancy have long known this is the case.

    • Posted November 11, 2010 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Oh, what Matt says is correct – I misread it the first time. But age disparity could also be a factor, and would intersect with what Matt is saying – ie girls are often having a first encounter with a boy who is not, which intersects with the possibility he is often older and possibly not a teen himself.

  4. Posted November 11, 2010 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    The first time I had sex, I was so incredibly prepared that I can hardly believe it now. It was 12 years ago (I was 15), and he wore a condom with spermicidal lubricant, and I also inserted a spermicidal “film” thing inside of my vagina. We were both so petrified of the idea of pregnancy that we left nothing to chance.

    On the other hand, it was then that I discovered I am allergic to spermicide. That was painful.

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