Creative ways of representing the gender gap

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So, a bit more than 50% of the world’s population are women. About 22% of the world’s elected legislative representatives are women (see here) and the UK is just about average on this front.As of January 2014, 9 women served as Head of State and 15 served as Head of Government.(There are 195 independent states in the world).

Sounds a bit abstract? Here’s another way of thinking about it:

Here’s a picture of world leaders and influential politicians participating to the Charlie Hebdo solidarity march. Look at it carefully:

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An ultra-Orthodox Jewish paper in Israel decided to photoshop and crop out female politicians, because their editorial policy forbids pictures of women. Let’s see how this looks like:

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Plan UK launch 2014 ‘Because I Am a Girl’ report

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Yesterday Plan UK launched the 2014 edition of the “Because I am a Girl”/State of the World’s girls report; which contains all the newest research behind world’s leading global campaign for adolescent girls’ empowerment. This year’s topic is “Pathways to Power: Creating Sustainable Change for Adolescent Girls”.

There is a lot to be said about it, and I will definitely dedicate it a few blog posts; for now, I only wanted to say that I am immensely proud to have been part of the team who made this happen.

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I worked for Plan UK as a research intern for 6 months, between November 2013 and April this year. This is where i learned how to do serious qualitative research, how to code in-depth interviews, how to work with surveys in Nvivo and make it spit out pretty graphs and various others such interesting geeky things; but most importantly, I have learned how to turn stories into data and data into stories with creativity and intellectual honesty- and how to do research that *matters*. I’ve been part of an amazingly creative, amazingly supportive team- and for this I am immensely, immensely proud.

More details later; for now I just want to celebrate. Go read the report! (Particularly the ‘Real Choices, Real Lives’ cohort study; that’s the bit I’ve been involved with the most).

Women denied abortions more likely to stay in abusive relationships

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So, last Sunday, Aug. 28, has been the international action day for the decriminalization of abortion, and last week I have attended a very interesting Amnesty International conference/solidarity event, where I have found out about the plight of women in El Salvador imprisoned for having suffered miscarriages while not having access to medical care and supervision.

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There is evidence that restricting the availability of legal abortion does not appear to reduce the number of women trying to end unwanted pregnancies (see here), what it does lead to is the death of around 70,000 women yearly from seeking unsafe illegal abortions; and the death of women denied the termination of a pregnancy that endangers their lives (often non-viable anyway).

Today on Jezebel, I came across another study, carried out by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco; tracking 862 women over the course of five years. The participants were divided into three groups: women seeking abortions who were within two weeks of the facility’s gestational age limit for the procedure (Near Limit Abortion Group), women who were turned away because their fetus was over that age limit (Turnaway Group) and women receiving an abortion in the first trimester (First Trimester Abortion Group). Each participant was asked questions about physical and psychological violence from the man involved in the pregnancy during biannual interviews.

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Headlines in social science: objectification and sexual coercion

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Researchers from Bridgewater State University find that if a woman is objectified in a relationship, it’s more likely that her male partner will sexually coerce and pressure her. In the study, questionnaires were applied to 119 men and 162 women to measure how much men tend to think about and find importance in how their female partner looks and their attitudes towards sexual pressure/coercion (beliefs like “It’s the woman’s responsibility to provide for her partner sexually” and “My partner should have sex with me whenever I want to have sex”).

The results show that the more men focus on the way their partner looks, the more likely they are to scrutinise her physically and feel shame about her appearance; but also the more likely they are to pressure her sexually.

The study appeared in Psychology of Women Quarterly and can be read here.