When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

You've reach your limit of free articles.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime.

SUBSCRIBERS BENEFITS

Ad-free experience NEW

Exclusive international news coverage

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Monthly Access

30-day free trial, then $2.90 per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
Sources

Up-Pill Battle, Brazilian Women Want Men To Use Contraception

Couple kissing in Rio de Janeiro
Couple kissing in Rio de Janeiro
Giuliana Miranda

SAO PAULO — When the contraceptive pill first appeared in the 1960s, it was celebrated as a symbol of sexual freedom for women. But an increasing number of women in Brazil now see it very differently.

Many say the pill has become something that is imposed on them by their partners. They believe it has made women solely responsible for avoiding an unplanned pregnancy. These women are now looking for other methods of contraception so as to share that burden of responsibility with their male partners.

In medical consultations and online forums, the debate has grown heated. Valérie Sousa, a 22-year-old publicist, says she never adapted to the pill's side effects but kept taking it anyway because her partners refused to use condoms.

"What motivated me most to abandon the pill were the situations that some of my friends and I found ourselves in," she says. "Because they knew we were on the pill, guys felt comfortable making up excuses and not protecting themselves."

"With time, I've learned to get out of situations that society considers normal. Perhaps it's a matter of opinion but it's good to emphasize that if it's doing you harm, you shouldn't take it. There are other contraception methods and, most importantly, ones that involve shared responsibility," Sousa adds.

Discarded contraceptive pills — Photo: Surija

Mariana Lima, 29, a manager, says she was concerned not only about the burden of responsibility but also about the costs involved.

Lima, who had been on the pill for years and later used a vaginal ring, decided to abandon all hormonal methods.

"I thought it was unfair having to pay 60 reais ($20) every month and, on top of that, having to worry about when to put it, when to remove it, etc." she says. "So I started asking by boyfriend to buy it for me instead. But even then, my "worries' went on, because I was the one having to remind him to buy it all the time until, at some point, I decided not to use it anymore. That way, we both have to be cautious."

Part of the reasons for this pushback is because of increased awareness about the pill's potential side effects. On top of the augmented risk of blood circulation problems for patients with a medical history of it, many women cite weight gain and a loss of libido among other side effects.

There are no official figures to show how many women have reconsidered their methods of contraception but the movement is apparent in medical clinics and hospitals across Brazil.

Contraceptive diaphragms — Source: Métodos contraceptivos: Diafragma YouTube screenshot

"I see a movement, still limited to social media, of women who are getting organized to demand planned parenthood services that direct them toward doctors who offer non-hormonal contraception methods," says gynecologist Halana Faria. "Women are inviting their partners to think about contraception and to opt for the correct and exclusive use of condoms. Abandoning the pill has encouraged women to start discussing the need to use condoms in all their relationships."

Faria is also an active member of an NGO, Coletivo Feminista Sexualidade em Saúde ("Healthy Sexuality Feminist Group"), which prioritizes safe medical services for women.

"I'm not here to demonize hormonal contraception. I believe there are women and social groups who can, indeed, benefit from its use and we need to be clear about this," she says, adding that access to information is crucial for women to be able to take decisions.

Ana Carolina de Magalhães, a researcher in physics, took the pill without noticing any side effects for more than a decade. But after spending time in Canada, she started to have second thoughts about it and began to search for non-hormonal alternatives. During this process, she says she received her husband's support to abandon the pill. He also began to share responsibility in avoiding an unplanned pregnancy. Now, the couple uses both contraceptive diaphragms and condoms.

"Part of the decision to also use condom came from the fact that it's pretty much the only contraceptive option men can use," she says. "By using both a diaphragm and a condom, we're both responsible."

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Future

AI Is Good For Education — And Bad For Teachers Who Teach Like Machines

Despite fears of AI upending the education and the teaching profession, artificial education will be an extremely valuable tool to free up teachers from rote exercises to focus on the uniquely humanistic part of learning.

Journalism teacher and his students in University of Barcelona.

Journalism students at the Blanquerna University of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

© Sergi Reboredo via ZUMA press
Julián de Zubiría Samper

-Analysis-

BOGOTÁ - Early in 2023, Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates included teaching among the professions most threatened by Artificial Intelligence (AI), arguing that a robot could, in principle, instruct as well as any school-teacher. While Gates is an undoubted expert in his field, one wonders how much he knows about teaching.

As an avowed believer in using technology to improve student results, Gates has argued for teachers to use more tech in classrooms, and to cut class sizes. But schools and countries that have followed his advice, pumping money into technology at school, or students who completed secondary schooling with the backing of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have not attained the superlative results expected of the Gates recipe.

Thankfully, he had enough sense to add some nuance to his views, instead suggesting changes to teacher training that he believes could improve school results.

I agree with his view that AI can be a big and positive contributor to schooling. Certainly, technological changes prompt unease and today, something tremendous must be afoot if a leading AI developer, Geoffrey Hinton, has warned of its threat to people and society.

But this isn't the first innovation to upset people. Over 2,000 years ago, the philosopher Socrates wondered, in the Platonic dialogue Phaedrus, whether reading and writing wouldn't curb people's ability to reflect and remember. Writing might lead them to despise memory, he observed. In the 18th and 19th centuries, English craftsmen feared the machines of the Industrial Revolution would destroy their professions, producing lesser-quality items faster, and cheaper.

Their fears were not entirely unfounded, but it did not happen quite as they predicted. Many jobs disappeared, but others emerged and the majority of jobs evolved. Machines caused a fundamental restructuring of labor at the time, and today, AI will likely do the same with the modern workplace.

Many predicted that television, computers and online teaching would replace teachers, which has yet to happen. In recent decades, teachers have banned students from using calculators to do sums, insisting on teaching arithmetic the old way. It is the same dry and mechanical approach to teaching which now wants to keep AI out of the classroom.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

You've reach your limit of free articles.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime.

SUBSCRIBERS BENEFITS

Ad-free experience NEW

Exclusive international news coverage

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Monthly Access

30-day free trial, then $2.90 per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

The latest