I looked at 100 best-selling picture books: female protagonists were largely invisible

Sarah Mokrzycki, The Conversation, June 3, 2019 6.08am AEST

In April 2019, I examined the 100 bestselling picture books at Australian book retailer Dymocks: an almost 50/50 mix of modern and classic stories (the majority being published in the past five years).

I discovered that despite the promising evolution of the rebel girl trend, the numbers tell us that picture books as a whole remain highly gendered and highly sexist. Worse – female protagonists remain largely invisible.

How we tackle gender in picture books is important, as they help inform children’s understanding of the world and themselves.

 

Media release from SHINE SA: Teen Pregnancy

SHINE SA, Issued: 25 May 2018

Following the release of the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing’s Report, that includes the latest figures on teen birth-rates, SHINE SA believes that a decrease in the teen birth-rate as indicated in the report, is a positive outcome from the study.

“A decrease may reflect better sexual health information for young people including education in schools, and better access to sexual health services”, said Dr Amy Moten, Coordinator, Medical Education at SHINE SA.

“Increased access to Long Acting reversible Contraception for young people, as promoted by Family Planning Alliance Australia, is also a significant factor in reducing teen pregnancy rates”, Dr Moten said.

Low socio-economic status can be a marker of poor health outcomes overall. This increases with remoteness from metropolitan areas and Indigenous status. This has been shown in previous studies and also is supported by national data regarding cervical screening that shows that low socio-economic and Indigenous status reduces the rate of screening compared to people from a higher socioeconomic areas.

Social determinants of health are linked to social and economic factors that influence health. Young people from a lower socioeconomic area are likely to have poorer health literacy, lower levels of education and poorer access to health services including contraception. These have all been shown to be linked to an increased birth rate over all ages. Barriers to access health and contraceptive services such as cost and availability of these services increase with distance from metropolitan areas.

“Generally, teen mums often face increased stigma about being a parent and should be supported in their decision to continue parenting”, Dr Moten said.

“At SHINE SA, we provide pregnancy testing, counselling and advice. When a young person is pregnant they can discuss their options and be referred to appropriate services. For a young person continuing to parent we would refer them to the Metropolitan Youth Health Service for example, which has a Young Parenting program”, Dr Moten said.

SHINE SA believes that young mums should be supported to continue their education as completing secondary school after pregnancy has been shown to improve long term outcomes in both mother and child.

Dr Amy Moten, Coordinator Medical Education, SHINE SA
Issued: 25 May 2018

 

Poorer outcomes for babies born to teen mums – often linked to low socioeconomic status

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare,  02 May 2018

Babies of teenage mothers often experience poorer health outcomes than babies born to women just a few years older, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) first report on this subject.

The report, Teenage mothers in Australia 2015, shows that about 8,200 teenage mothers gave birth to 8,300 babies (3% of all babies) in 2015, down from 11,800 teenage mothers giving birth a decade earlier. Almost three-quarters of teenage mothers were aged 18 or 19.

One in 4 (24%) of all teenage mothers were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Indigenous teenage mothers had higher levels of antenatal risk factors and poorer baby outcomes than non-Indigenous teenage mothers in terms of pre-term birth
and low birthweight.

 

Decision-making about infant feeding among African women living with HIV in the UK

“It pains me because as a woman you have to breastfeed your baby”: decision-making about infant feeding among African women living with HIV in the UK

Sex Transm Infect 2016;92:331-336 doi:10.1136/sextrans-2015-052224

Abstract

Objectives UK guidance advises HIV-positive women to abstain from breast feeding. Although this eliminates the risk of postnatal vertical transmission of HIV, the impact of replacement feeding on mothers is often overlooked. This qualitative study examines, for the first time in the UK, decision-making about infant feeding among African women living with HIV.

Methods Between 2010 and 2011, we conducted semistructured interviews with 23 HIV-positive African women who were pregnant or had recently given birth. We recruited participants from three HIV antenatal clinics in London.

Results Women highlighted the cultural importance of breast feeding in African communities and the social pressure to breast feed, also describing fears that replacement feeding would signify their HIV status. Participants had significant concerns about physical and psychological effects of replacement feeding on their child and felt their identity as good mothers was compromised by not breast feeding. However, almost all chose to refrain from breast feeding, driven by the desire to minimise vertical transmission risk. Participants’ resilience was strengthened by financial assistance with replacement feeding, examples of healthy formula-fed children and support from partners, family, peers and professionals.

Conclusions The decision to avoid breast feeding came at considerable emotional cost to participants. Professionals should be aware of the difficulties encountered by HIV-positive women in refraining from breast feeding, especially those from migrant African communities where breast feeding is culturally normative. Appropriate financial and emotional support increases women’s capacity to adhere to their infant-feeding decisions and may reduce the emotional impact.

Read article (open access) here

 

For African women with HIV, not breastfeeding is not easy

Reuters,

Healthcare providers need to understand that for HIV-positive African women, following advice not to breastfeed in order to protect their babies from the virus takes a high emotional toll, a U.K. study suggests.

Read more here

 

One in five women giving birth in Australia are 35 or over, data shows

Guardian Australia, Monday 14 December 2015

More than one in five women giving birth in Australia are now aged 35 or over, the latest official figures show.

The latest birth data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows the proportion of mothers aged 35 and older who gave birth increased by four percentage points to 22% in the decade to 2013.

Women who gave birth aged under 24 decreased from 19% to 17%; 30.1 years was the average age in 2013, up from 29.5 years a decade earlier. First-time mothers had an average age of 28.6 years.

Read more here