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Blogs comment on breaking down gender stereotypes in Ecuador, keeping politics out of health care and more

Read the week's best commentary from bloggers at UN Women/Huffington Post blogs, Slate's "Medical Examiner" and more.


"Women break down gender stereotypes after Ecuador earthquake," UN Women/Huffington Post blogs: In April, "a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador, impacting 720,000 people -- half of them women and girls," according to UN Women/Huffington Post blogs. According to the blog, the recovery efforts presented an opportunity for women to defy gender stereotypes and participate in rebuilding their communities, as well as to "show their families and community that women can rebuild Ecuador, literally." Under a United Nations program, called Cash for Work, local women participated in job training offered in an effort "to reactivate the local economy." Veronica Lucas Melo, an Ecuadorian woman who participated in training for masonry and construction work, said after she and other women began working, "'Men began to take us seriously. They didn't see us as weak anymore and worked with us as a team.'" UN Women Ecuador representative Moni Pizani noted, "'Recovery time after a crisis presents a unique opportunity to lay the foundations for promoting the autonomy and economic empowerment of women. It's a chance to dismantle gender stereotypes and build more equal societies.'" According to the blog, UN Women Ecuador has also arranged an entrepreneurship training workshop and bolstered "efforts to strengthen women's participation in the governance of shelters and training police and security forces to prevent and address gender-based violence" (UN Women/Huffington Post blogs, 10/12).

What others are saying about global issues:

~ "Why the global water crisis is a women's issue and the top global risk over the next decade?" Shail Khiyara, Huffington Post blogs.


"Your doctor's party shouldn't matter," Dhruv Khullar, Slate's "Medical Examiner": Although "physicians are taught not to bring their personal political beliefs into the hospital," new research suggests that "physicians' political affiliations may influence the kind of care they provide, especially on politicized health issues," including abortion care, Khullar writes. However, while some "argue that patients should be able to see their doctors' political affiliations as easily as where they went to medical school -- and seek medical care accordingly," Khullar states that such a plan "is a dangerous and misguided idea for doctors to encourage." He writes, "Patients should feel entitled to seek out treatment from doctors who make them feel most comfortable, ... [b]ut accepting a doctor's political affiliation as a sweeping proxy for the kind of care he or she provides is an affront to how we should strive to practice medicine." According to Khullar, "A healthier solution is one that grows from within the medical profession -- that openly acknowledges its biases; that forcefully embraces its professional responsibilities; and that emphasizes the inviolable sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship above all else." Noting that physicians have pledged to "honor patients' goals, values and interests," no matter a physician's personal beliefs, Khullar concludes, "We shouldn't be asking patients to research their doctors' political views. We should reassure them, with our actions, that our personal parties are irrelevant to their care. Because in the hospital, they should be" (Khullar, "Medical Examiner," Slate, 10/12).


"Science says women are quite certain about having an abortion," Laurel Raymond, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "Women who decide to get abortions are just as confident about their decision as people making other kinds of health care decisions," according to a new study, Raymond writes. According to the study, the majority of women who completed the initial survey indicated they were highly certain about their decision, and 89 percent said at a follow-up three weeks later that they had obtained an abortion. Specifically, the researchers found women "were as certain or even more certain about their decision to seek an abortion as men and women were about the decision to get reconstructive knee surgery, undergo prenatal testing in pregnancy, and move forward with treatment for colorectal and breast cancer." She quotes Lauren Ralph, an epidemiologist at University of California's Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health and the study's lead author, who explained that the findings "'directly challeng[e] the narrative that decision making on abortion is somehow exceptional compared to other health care decisions and requires additional protection, such as state laws that mandate waiting periods or targeted counseling, and whose states purpose is to prevent women from making an unconsidered decision.'" The study is "one more piece of evidence that the rationale behind these laws isn't backed up by the facts," Raymond writes, citing research that found "nearly 90 percent of women report they're 'highly confident' about having an abortion when they first seek out a clinic," as well as studies showing "that even when women have mixed emotions after ending a pregnancy, they don't regret their abortion and overwhelmingly say they made the right choice" (Raymond, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 10/13).

What others are saying about the abortion-rights movement:

~ "Please stop trying to talk women out of getting abortions," Sarah Jacoby, Refinery29.