Mon, Aug 28, 2006 - Page 2 News List

NGOs make an attempt to improve sex education

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

While the nation's overall birth rate falls so low that the Council of Labor Affairs is offering financial incentives to couples to induce them to have children, the birth rate for girls aged 15-19 is the highest in the Asia-Pacific region, according to local non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

But that's not necessarily good news, according to the Taipei Association for the Promotion of Women's Rights (TAPWR), an NGO composed of female lawyers.

The association, along with the Nursing Teachers Association of the Republic of China -- another NGO that seeks to add more health and sex education classes to schools' curricula -- cited the statistic at a press conference yesterday, saying that young women and girls who become pregnant often do so by accident.

"There isn't sufficient sex education in our schools, which is why so many school-age girls are getting pregnant by accident," said Chen I-chun (陳怡君), a member of TAPWR.

Wu Cheng-ting (吳政庭), director of the Taiwan Gender Equity Association and a panel member at the conference, told the Taipei Times that the quality of health education in junior high schools is sorely lacking.

Wu said that many teachers are too embarrassed to teach classes about sex and gender equality.

In light of the lack of sex education and the sheer number of unexpected pregnancies, TAPWR published a book on sex-related issues recently, and held a press conference in Taipei yesterday to launch it.

"This book is for educators to use in helping both boys and girls to understand how to avoid unexpected pregnancies, and to tell girls what their options are if they do find themselves pregnant," TAPWR member Lan Bei-chi (藍貝芝) said.

She added that the book -- How To Handle an Unexpected Pregnancy (未婚懷孕怎麼辦?) -- is an updated and practical source of valuable information on sex-related issues.

"The book is an updated guide that covers the medical, legal and social aspects of sex and pregnancy," Chen said as she demonstrated how to properly use a condom by deftly applying one to a vibrator.

"When I visit schools [to demonstrate condom usage], not even the teachers refer to a penis properly. Finally, we had everybody call the vibrator Mr Adam (亞當先生)," Chen added.

Li Chao-huan (李兆環), the director of TAPWR, told reporters that her association is seeking to put a copy of How To Handle an Unexpected Pregnancy in every junior high and senior high school in the country.

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