Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) researchers, program staff, and guest authors draw on their experiences and scholarship to reflect on issues of particular importance to women, children, and families. Their opinions are occasionally expressed through letters to the editor and commentaries submitted to media outlets. Other opinion pieces have been published in the WCW Research & Action Report; some have been written specifically for publishing on this website. The selections below reflect the personal reflections and commentaries of the contributing authors.
By Jennifer Grossman Ph.D.
Think about it—in many of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, there was little family conversation about sex. Often, for religious and cultural reasons, family communication about sex was considered taboo. Many teens did not know what sex was or how to protect themselves from pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This has changed in many families, as cultural expectations have shifted and there is growing recognition that teenparent sexuality communication can protect teens from early pregnancy and STIs. Many parents also have reflected on the potentially harmful effects that ignorance about sexuality had on their own teenage years and lived experiences. Parents now often commit to talking with their children about sex, breaking from traditions of family silence from past generations, as a way to support their children’s healthy development.
The Olympics may be—on the surface—about international goodwill, but they are more baldly about political competition. They also offer a report card on gender equity progress. One could credit the rise of women’s athletics in the U.S., not to the passage of Title IX in 1972, but to the Cold War realization that the medal gap between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was essentially the difference in women’s participation.