In response to the New York Times editorial about new efforts in the U.S. to promote debunked abstinence-only education, Population Council Senior Associate Nicole Haberland pens a letter to the editor about what the data actually show about sex education effectiveness.
Drawing on her years of rigorous research on education, gender, violence, and empowerment, Haberland explains why sex education that emphasizes gender equality and power dynamics in relationships is so essential.
“Thank you for calling out the obscene duplicity of this new era. No matter how one tries to rebrand or repackage abstinence-only education, it does not work.
I’ve spent much of my career researching what makes sex education effective for young people around the world. Comprehensive sex education does not offer a silver bullet that inevitably decreases unintended pregnancy, violence and poor health outcomes.
But the data are clear: Comprehensive sex education that addresses gender equality and unequal power in relationships is some five times more effective at reducing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections than programs that neglect these critical issues.
As the #MeToo movement has made starkly apparent, the need for thoughtful, evidence-based sex education about consent, human rights, equality and power dynamics for our country’s young people is essential.”
Read more at the New York Times.