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Gender Across Borders, in partnership with Ipas and RH Reality Check, will host a series on stigma and sexuality on 20-22 September 2011. The series will explore how individuals face institutional, community, or professional stigma because of their sexual and reproductive decisions.

Stigma is difficult to define, and yet we see at work, or experience ourselves everyday: when a sexually active teen is called a slut; when a woman who’s had an abortion hides it from her friends; when a nurse who provides abortions cannot tell her family. It might be just a sidelong look that induces shame, or a global policy that restricts the reproductive freedom of women. Stigma carries strong statements about culture and morality, definitions of femininity, motherhood and personhood, and even life and death.

We are looking for a diversity of voices to help shine a new light on stigma in this context. Where in your life or work have you witnessed or experienced stigma around reproductive health and sexuality?

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Personal stories of sexual and reproductive health choices in light of stigma
  • Policy analyses of the domestic or global legislation of stigma
  • Accounts of stigma “success stories” or transformations of attitudes
  • Consideration of how stigma is used to oppress and control women
  • Examination of ways in which stigma persists within the pro-choice movement

While all related topics will be considered, special consideration will be given to articles on abortion stigma, an issue that has received little global attention from the global research, media, and advocacy communities in the past.

Articles should be 300-1500 words and well-researched, though not necessarily academic. Please consult Gender Across Borders for samples of past series submissions and accepted writing style.

To apply, please submit your article with a resume or short bio to Jessica at Deadline is Friday, 2 September at 5pm PST. If your submission is accepted, please be prepared to have access to the internet between September 12-16 for final edits. No prior experience with blogging or professional writing is necessary.

The series will run on Gender Across Borders and RH Reality Check on September 20-22 2011.