Sex Ed Goes Global: the Netherlands

Sex Ed Goes Global: the Netherlands

The sex education I received was decent, by American standards. When I was eight, my female peers and I were ushered to the music room, where we ate our boxed lunches on the floor and learned about the menstrual cycle. I shuddered at the thought of ever bleeding from “down there” and spent the next several years terrified that I would get my first period in public. When I was twelve, my middle school health teacher projected grainy slides of STD-afflicted genitals and explained that pregnancy and childbirth would ruin your life. The class did, however, cover various forms of contraception and a very brief lesson on consent. When a classmate asked if sperm could, like, crawl up your leg, we all laughed at her question while secretly waiting to hear the answer. When I was fifteen, and approaching a time in my life where comprehensive sexuality education might be especially useful, my otherwise progressive high school recommended an online...
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New public health policy aims to halt virginity testing in Afghanistan

New public health policy aims to halt virginity testing in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has enacted a new public health policy intended to stop virginity testing in the country, marking a hard-earned victory for human rights campaigners. The invasive procedure to check whether the hymen is intact remains widespread in Afghanistan, despite having been condemned by the World Health Organization, countless human rights groups, and even the Afghan government. Girls and young women who fail the virginity tests can beimprisoned for several months--sometimes, more than a year--and face shame and exclusion even after they are released. Yet after years of advocacy and activism, Marie Stopes Afghanistan and other societal leaders believe that this official public health policy, which will stop the practice from being performed in all clinics and hospitals throughout Afghanistan, presents a major breakthrough. The organization will work to ensure that the new policy is understood and implemented. Farhad Javid, country director for Marie Stopes International in Afghanistan, believes that both government and Taliban regions will respect this new change in public health policy....
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Burundi ban denies expectant teens their right to education

Burundi ban denies expectant teens their right to education

Burundi recently announced a ban that will prevent pregnant girls and expectant fathers from attending formal schooling, sparking immediate backlash from human rights groups and other advocates. In a letter to local educators and authorities, the east African nation's minister of education instructed that pregnant teens and young mothers, as well as the boys that impregnate them, would no longer be permitted to attend public and private schools. The students would, however, be allowed to receive vocational or professional training. Advocates have expressed opposition to the ban, arguing that the policy will disproportionately harm teenage girls as it will be difficult to identify and prove fatherhood. "How does the government prove that Boy A impregnated Boy B?" asked human rights lawyer Naitore Nyamu-Mathenge of gender justice organization Equality Now. "This ban disproportionately affects girls and it is skewed towards an abuse of the girls' rights to education," she said. Nyamu-Mathenge stressed the importance of girls' education, adding that denying girls education could lead to...
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