30 September 2010

Girls & Contraception (Renata)

"It's easy now to choose your method of contraception what you want to use because there is lots of information – researches online, but… when it come to talking about it… its not so easy. I can talk with my closest friends about contraception, I can explain almost everything, but when I have to talk with others – strangers, like writing here… mmmm… it becomes a bit uncomfortable… because it's personal, some people can look at you very negatively… it is still a taboo, and that refrains many girls from talking about contraception openly.

We live in 21st century and it shouldn’t be like that. It is sad but not all girls can access internet to read about different methods or get the prescription from doctor because they live in small communities or they are scared of something. But Sex happens! We have to protect ourselves, It’s our bodies and we have to love it! So it’s much better play this game securely, than have big headache after that. Girls let's talk about Sex, and let's talk Contraception!!!"

Girls & Contraception (Marius)

"I asked some girlfriends “what’s the first thing that pops to mind when they hear the word contraception?”. To be more exact I asked 57 girls this question.
  • 22 said “condom
  • 25 said “sexual protection
  • 7 said “the pill
  • 3 said “no babies
Those 7 girls that said “the pill”, they’re all in a relationship. They trust their boyfriend so they consider this being the best contraceptive method for their sexual relationship.

From the 22 girls who said “condom”, 13 of them have a boyfriend, but they prefer this method of contraception. When I asked why, 4 of them told me because “taking the pill can get you fat” and they don’t want that. The others said they haven’t discussed the subject with their boyfriend, they just started with the condom and kept on going with it.

Myths exists, and they influence peoples decision. Taking the pill doesn't get you fat. It's true some of them can increase your appetite for food, but that can be controlled.

I asked the girls who said “sexual protection”, what do they mean by this? The majority said protection against STI’s and unwanted babies, but there were 6 that focused only on the unwanted babies, on the STI’s part, they weren’t very concerned. They had the idea that "it won’t happen to me. I don’t know anyone who had/has an STI.”

The thing is that you can't tell if a person has an STI just looking at him/her, and sadly people lie. Ignorance it's not the way.

The 3 girls that said “no babies” are concerned in both ways, unwanted pregnancies and STI’s, but they said no babies, because getting pregnant would complicate their life a lot more. As what contraceptive they use, they all said the condom.

Contraceptive methods are there, and if you're informed enough you can decide which method you want to use, which one is best. They don't necessary take the pleasure away, they can even change the mood sometimes. From different condoms to pills, you can decide which one you want to use, but always take in account the risks that you are putting yourself to if you don't use one."


28 September 2010

Girls & Contraception (Ada)

"Girls have very different experiences and stories to tell when it comes to when they first find out about contraception. Often times these stories come from learning about the pill and not so much about emergency contraception or negotiation to use a condom. Being able to feel comfortable to admit that, as a girl/young women, we have sex and then to be able to feel comfortable to talk about which contraceptive methods we would like in order to prevent pregnancy or an STI still seems like an ideal situation for girls.

We aren’t having sex to prevent these outcomes of sex, we are having sex for other reasons. Still, it is important that girls have contraceptive knowledge and choice and that girls can feel comfortable to talk about this.

I come from a family of all girls, and I asked my sisters the question, “when did you first learn about contraception?” Interestingly, we all had different answers and different stories around this question. Here’s my slightly funny and a little depressing story of my first memory of learning about contraception:

My school sex education (not about sexuality at all), similar to many young people, focused on abstinence only scare tactics as well as the biological/anatomical background of sex. During sex education we were shown huge pictures of STIs to know what some STIs, i.e. chlamydia and warts looked like. We ended up saying things like ‘eww gross’ and shielding our eyes and in utter disbelief that that could actually happen to someone. The message from this was supposed to be to either not have sex or wear a condom. The teachers never really thought that young people will never admit to having an STI if there is so much stigma around having one. For some reason, the school decided to address this topic in the same week as wearing a safety belt when in a car – the pictures for this one were major trauma car accidents on what has happened to people who don’t wear their seatbelts…. The message was clear: never have sex and never get in a car!

Luckily for me, talking about getting on birth control was an easy discussion to have. I do remember girls saying “yes, but I’m only on the pill to prevent acne and so my menstrual cramps aren’t so bad”. We still have a lot of work to do to help support girls who want to have sex, feel good about their choices and live healthy sexual lives that protect themselves."

Girls & Contraception (Maya)

"Contraception gives me control over my life and future, over my health, family status or work aspirations. And what is most important about it - IT GIVES ME A CHOICE!

How and when to protect myself it all up to me. And remember, there is a method for everyone. The pill and the female condom offer girls the chance to be independent and make their own decisions while the condom can help generate trust and security between partners. So
make good use of your right of choice and enjoy yourself safely!"


27 September 2010

Girls & Contraception (Luīze)

"I find so weird to be the one insisting that it’s going to
be either with a condom or nothing is going to
. Why would it have to be a fight and negotiation?
As if it would be only about me..."

22 September 2010

Girls & Education (Tove)

"I was about 9 year old when I started reading English at school. As I guess everyone does when you’re that age, we sang songs for children in English to learn the language better. I especially remember one song that went like this:

Do you like my car?
Yes sir!
Do you like my car?
Yes sir, yes sir!
Do you like my car?
Yes, sir, it’s a beautiful car!

Do you like my dress?
Yes miss!
Do you like my dress?
Yes miss, yes miss!
Do you like my dress?
Yes, miss, it’s a beautiful dress!

Quite silly and pointless song and I didn’t really thought of the lyrics until I got older. What I really love with being a girl in 2010 is that nowadays it’s OK for me to have a car and it’s ok for me to ask: do you like my car?

Though, still it’s not really ok for a boy to have a dress and ask: do you like my dress? But hopefully we get there someday."
Tove, YSAFE Steering Committee member

21 September 2010

Girls & Education (Luīze)

"I am so happy that education in my life
has never been a struggle,

a fight or an unfulfilled desire,
it has been something normal

and obvious, just one step more in my path.
I happen to be so lucky!"

Girls & Education (Jacek)

"Its cool to be girl these days, but it was not always this way. Lets speak about education – nowadays equal access to education seems obvious to all, and in many states women are generally better educated than men are. But think about old times when education was only "men thing". Times when women were perceived as having to fragile brains to receive proper education. Think about this world of inequality where men had such gigantic educational advantage over women, making them feel inferior and really dependent.

Think about all brave women witch stood up to fight for this right, remind yourself about Maria Skłodowska-Curie – studying physics, chemistry, and mathematics at Paris Sorbonne, she was treated as „freak”. Woman studying sciences was something really unusual at that time.You can imagine all the social pressure against her, all those comments, and silly smiles suggesting that she should rather choose other way of life. All those people trying to neglect all what she was doing, turning that into
But she didn't gave up, she became first woman awarded a Ph.D. in research science in Europe and first woman professor at the Sorbonne. She continued her work, and soon she became first woman awarded a Nobel Prize and first person awarded Nobel Prizes in two different scientific disciplines. Showing all the people how wrong they were, and presenting that a woman with an education can achieve results as impressive as can a man with an education.

It is important to be brave, and to stand for your rights, its the only way to make your dreams come true. But it is also very important to be well informed to make proper,
responsible choices. Be brave, be open minded and eager to learn, so you can really enjoy being a girl, a girl aware of her rights, able to defeat all obstacles.

But there are still places in this world where young girls, are denied right to education, and that's not right, remember them!"
Jacek, YSAFE Chair

Girls & Education (Katarína)

Katarína shares with us a "fun and positive and old song" called When I'll Be a Teacher One Day (Až raz budem učitelkou) sung by Dara Rolins, now a very famous Slovak pop-star.

"There will be a lot of singing, singing everywhere
I will teach the teachers how to sing “weeee”
In the classes of singing, singing, singing
Everyone will have to know every HIT

An when we will finish with the singing,
I will start examining in those grammar exceptions,
And large multiplication tables
So they won’t think
That I’m just like any teacher."

20 September 2010

First takes: Jennifer

YSAFE member Jennifer sharing how does it feel to be a girl in XXI century and how to deal with some hard issues.

First takes: Maya

YSAFE Steering Committee member Maya sharing how working with SRHR has empowered her.

First takes: Tove

YSAFE Steering Committee member Tove sharing on what to do at moments when being a girl might not be that amazing.

16 September 2010

More Than Make-up

Almost half [of girls surveyed] admitted the worst part
about being females is the feeling that they
have to look attractive.

A video-teaser for the Girl Guiding UK Girls' Attitudes 2010 survey,
you can find survey's official website here and an article resuming it in the Sun here.

14 September 2010

Katarína ♥ Being a Girl

The amazing YSAFE intern-coordinator Katarína talks about what is that she LOVES about being a girl (although it's not that easy sometimes), as she says:

"It's NOT OK to expect a girl just to shut up and smile prettily!"