In 2007, Knitting for Change will focus on issues concerning womens’ health. I have a terrific group of guest designers and writers lined up. Each month, a different aspect of womens’ health will be covered in an essay and I’ll include links to read more about the featured topic, especially how it relates to knitting. I’ll continue to post free charity knitting patterns and knitting lessons every month as well. I’ll also post links to interesting news stories about womens’ health throughout the year. One important topic I’ll focus on all year is how we can wade through all of the information we find and figure out what is real, unbiased medical advice based on solid scientific evidence, versus what is just someone’s opinion or, even worse, material that is intentionally distorted or censored to misinform the public.
I believe this topic is one of the most important topics we, as knitters, can address. Because the large majority of knitters are women, I am focusing on womens’ health, rather than on health issues in general. Today, while women around the world are suffering and dying from preventable and curable diseases, misinformation is being spread by governments, religious leaders, and others who desire to keep women from being free and powerful. You may find some of the stories I post this year disturbing You may wish you could close your eyes and cover your ears and ignore the ugly facts. But don’t. Those of us who are safe and free have a duty to acknowledge the suffering and pain of others who are oppressed, and do do whatever we can, even if it is only a small token, to help alleviate that suffering.
To ignore the plight of others less fortunate than ourselves is selfish and immoral.
This story from the AP shows how the United States is not exempt from such policies of misinformation:
The study, examining how sexual behavior before marriage has changed over time, was based on interviews conducted with more than 38,000 people—about 33,000 of them women—in 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 for the federal National Survey of Family Growth. According to Finer’s analysis, 99 percent of the respondents had had sex by age 44, and 95 percent had done so before marriage.
Even among a subgroup of those who abstained from sex until at least age 20, four-fifths had had premarital sex by age 44, the study found.
Finer said the likelihood of Americans having sex before marriage has remained stable since the 1950s, though people now wait longer to get married and thus are sexually active as singles for extensive periods.
The study found women virtually as likely as men to engage in premarital sex, even those born decades ago. Among women born between 1950 and 1978, at least 91 percent had had premarital sex by age 30, he said, while among those born in the 1940s, 88 percent had done so by age 44.
“The data clearly show that the majority of older teens and adults have already had sex before marriage, which calls into question the federal government’s funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for 12- to 29-year-olds,” Finer said.
Under the Bush administration, such programs have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.
It’s time to stop wasting money on policies founded on ideology instead of fact.
It’s time to implement policies that positively impact womens’ health
insted of catering to the false morality of religious & political extremists.
Join me in 2007, as I explore various issues of womens’ health with guest columnists and designers, in the hopes of spreading real, scientific information that can change the lives of those at risk and help stop the spread of disease, illness, and suffering around the world.