Vagina News Link Roundup – The Science of Sexism

– Diana Greene Foster, a demographer and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, has completed a study on what happens to women who are denied abortions. (Aside from a similar study in the 60s in Czechoslovakia, this is surprisingly unprecedented.) The article is long and detailed and excellent. Spoiler Falert – it doesn’t bode well for mother or child. 

– Another study (thanks Jason!) shows that 1 in 6 women who seek treatment at clinics specializing in bone fractures have been abused by intimate partners – and that’s a low estimate. “Neck and head injuries are the most common for women who have experienced domestic violence, he said. Also common are “bruising or broken jaws, teeth being knocked out, black eyes.”… By the time a woman receives broken bones, she’s at sharp risk of being killed by her partner. That’s why orthopedic surgeons need to get better at noticing the signs, he said.”

– To lighten things up a bit, 6 female scientists to tell you friends and family about. We don’t know about these women because institutional sexism prevented them from being recognized alongside their male peers. (Like, Nobel prizes being awarded to all the men around them, but not to the women… That kind of thing.) Let’s help right that wrong by learning and talking about them. 


The Science of Women Silencing Themselves

This past June, Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown was barred from speaking on the House floor after she used the word “vagina” while debating a proposed anti-abortion bill. It was one of the stories that led to the creation of Vagina News.

I felt a strong connection to the story – not initially because of the word “vagina”, or the fact that it’s unquestionably relevant to a discussion about abortion – but because I’m all too familiar with the experience of being pressured into silence in a predominantly male group. I suspect most women are.

A recently published study puts science behind that shared
experience. Researchers found that, in collaborative group settings, “the time
that women spoke was significantly less than their proportional
representation—amounting to less than 75 percent of the time that men spoke.”
It also found that groups reached dramatically different conclusions when
making decisions by secret ballot vs. open voting, suggesting that women are
often pressured into siding with the male majority.

I have not read the full 15-page report, but I plan to;
Google “Gender Inequality in Deliberative Participation” if you’d like to join me. You’ll also find a number of interesting articles about it by Googling ‘American Political Science Review woman speak less.’

For my part, I’m going to keep speaking my mind in spite of
pressure to the contrary, and thank you in advance for cheering me on when it
gets me into trouble.