Double Dose: Photos of Nursing Babies Deleted by Facebook; Few LGBT Characters on TV; New Studies on Black Women and Maternal Health

By Christine Cupaiuolo — September 30, 2007

Black Women and Maternal Health: Molly M. Ginty, writing at Women’s eNews, covers the findings of five reports released by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies on black maternal health and racial inequities:

The center’s 19-member Courage to Love: Infant Mortality Commission — funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and partnering with the UCLA School of Public Affairs and the University of Michigan’s NIH Roadmap Disparities Center — says the health problems of black women and black infants stem not just from inadequate medical care but from stress, racism, poverty and other social pressures.

Released during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference from Sept. 26 to 29, the reports also coincide with a meeting organized by the Joint Center and the Washington-based Black Women’s Agenda for 250 representatives of black women’s organizations in Washington, D.C. Attendees will discuss the reports and preview “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” an upcoming PBS television series that explores race and health.

In the five reports — one on breastfeeding, one on nutrition, two on infant mortality and one summarizing the others — commission members address the possible reasons for black women’s negative birth outcomes.

Continue reading Ginty’s story here.

For Starters, Try Talking to Women: Laura L. Mays Hoopes, a writer and molecular biology professor at Pomona College, offers 10 suggestions aimed at men who want to help retain women working in the sciences. The Scientist magazine published the suggestions online last week, ahead of publication in the magazine’s January issue, to spark a discussion of gender bias in science. Suggestions and comments are encouraged.

Using a Breast Pump from the Start: Chicago Tribune health columnist Julie Deardorff writes about skipping breastfeeding directly and going straight to using a breast pump. Predictably, debate follows. Earlier entries on breastfeeding, including a history of La Leche League International, are here.

Plus: “Facebook is getting an online scolding after the social networking site deleted pictures of nursing babies it considered “obscene content” and closed the account of at least one Canadian mom,” reports the Toronto Star. (via Aetiology, which has lots more good links and analysis.)

Condom Accusations Spark Anger: The head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique, Maputo Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, angered AIDS activists last week after telling the BBC he believes some European-made condoms and some anti-retroviral drugs have been deliberately infected with HIV “in order to finish quickly the African people.”

According to the BBC, it is estimated that 16.2 percent of Mozambique’s 19 million inhabitants are HIV positive. The Catholic Church’s official doctrines oppose condoms.

Plus: Broadsheet did a wrap-up Friday of other condom-related news …

Rural Mothers Have Higher Employment Rate: A new study by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire shows that rural mothers with children under age 6 have higher employment rates than their urban counterparts, but have higher poverty rates, lower wages, and lower family income.

The Happiness Gap: Is there a growing “happiness gap” between men and women? Researchers seem to think so, reports The New York Times.

What’s Missing on TV: “Your chances of seeing a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender character on the broadcast networks in prime time this new TV season are about the same as your chances of seeing a talking fish or caveman,” writes Washington Post TV critic Lisa de Moraes.

The latest “Where We Are on TV” report, created by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, found that there are only seven regular LGBT television characters this season, out of 650 regular lead or supporting characters, featured in just five scripted programs.

“On the new prime-time schedules, LGBT characters represent just 1.1 percent of those 650 characters,” adds de Moreas. “In real life, based on U.S. Census projections, LGBT marketing companies estimate 15.3 million adults identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, which would be about 6.8 percent of the population.”

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