Reproductive Awareness

Female kangaroo reproductive system

A recent article by the awesome Ed Yong brought to my attention an amazing fact, one that I have gone my whole life without knowing, kangaroos have three vaginas. This unusual arrangement (e.g., ureters passing through the gaps between the three vaginas) is the norm for all marsupials, and in kangaroos creates a condition where they can effectively be perpetually pregnant, which I think is just insane! Although not quite as insane as the bill signed last Thursday by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, which effectively bans abortions after 18 weeks and declares that a woman could be pregnant 2 weeks before conception! This legislation is part of an ongoing trend in the US, where States have been rolling back the health, reproductive, and equal pay rights of women, a trend which has been well documented (read: ridiculed) on The Daily Show.

In addition to these political attacks on women’s rights, Hilary Rosen’s comments regarding Ann Romney, has sparked a debate about stay at home moms. An interesting angle to the stay at home mom story that does not get much attention, is how these choices are reflected in the extreme gender imbalance in scientific careers in the US. American Scientist has a great article on When Scientists Choose Motherhood, that is definitely worth the read, below is a graphic demonstrating that imbalance

Women are in the minority in nearly all fields of science, especially in math-based fields. Women appear to be hired as assistant professors at rates close to their representation among Ph.D.s. However, fewer women apply for tenure-track jobs than their numbers in the Ph.D. pool suggest (Graphs based on data from D. Nelson and C. Brammer.)

The article cites several reasons that are normally used to explain the under representation of women in STEM, namely; systemic discrimination, unequal pay and promotion, old-boys’ club, general preference for more biological careers, and the main argument of the article, that women choose to be a mother.

While the attacks on women and moms mentioned above are shameful, they pail in comparison to the recent physical attack on Afghan schoolgirls, where 150 girls have fallen ill for drinking water that was poisoned by those who oppose female education. These actions are just so sad, and awful, just makes you want to go hug a kangaroo, or better still, your mom.

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3 thoughts on “Reproductive Awareness

  1. Pingback: The effects of Aging on Female Reproductive System | Healthy Aging Code

  2. Pingback: Animal ABC’s in ET&C | On a Quasi-Related Note

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