Sex ed in America is in such a sad state that most teens are receiving inaccurate, incomplete, or simply no information. Most women have no idea what goes on inside their own bodies or what the best ways of taking care of themselves are. In fact, a lot of women only learn about their bodies when something goes wrong.
Actress Jessica Biel was one of those self-confessed ignorant women. When she and her husband, Justin Timberlake, decided to try for children, she became aware of just how much she didn't know about how her body worked:
Suddenly I realized I really didn't know what's going on inside my own body. It was shocking.
She then met Saundra Pelletier, the founder of the nonprofit health care organization WomanCare Global, and started chatting off her ear. Pelletier comforted Biel in the fact that she's not alone -- which, in itself, is not a comfortable fact -- thanks to the lack of sex ed regulation which means the education available to teenagers varies greatly from state to state and school to school.
I'll admit that my own experience with sex ed was less than stellar. It consisted of two slideshows, which were at least 30 years old at the time, and an apathetic softball coach who wanted to be there even less than we did. I knew very little about my own body until I started researching on my own -- which was well into my 20s and into my marriage.
Pelletier started by launching Project Dignity to provide reusable menstrual cups to girls in developing countries -- places where up to 10% of girls drop out of education because they don't have access to pads, cups, or tampons and have no way of controlling their bodies during the day. She soon realized that, while women can easily access their products in the US, vital information is still sorely lacking:
More than half of our nation's pregnancies are unplanned, and just 22 states require public schools to teach sex education. Jessica and I realized we can help change this.
Pelletier and Biel have launched Woman Care Global, a place where they have uploaded videos on topics ranging from menstruation to contraception. Of the videos, Biel says:
We want girls to know what their [body is going through] so they don't feel scared or ashamed or gross. We share girl stories, fears, and insecurities. The tone is informative but also goofy, smart, witty.