Just one in 10 women could correctly identify a diagram of a woman’s reproductive system in a new poll.
The survey asked 2,000 women to explain their anatomical knowledge of the female reproductive system and found there are some major gaps when it comes to what they knew about their own bodies.
Nearly one in four misidentified the vagina and 46% could not properly identify the cervix.
Over half (59%) identified the uterus as a different body part too.
The survey, commissioned by INTIMINA and conducted by OnePoll, asked American respondents what the menstrual cycle was in their own words.
One respondent wrote the menstrual cycle ‘got rid of bacteria’ while another called it a ‘periodical body reset button’.
Another woman said ‘I think it’s the way we pee’ and another thought it was the ‘detoxification of [the] female body’.
When respondents were presented with different potential definitions of the menstrual cycle, almost a quarter chose the incorrect response ‘the process a women’s body goes through to shed excess blood’.
63% were able to correctly identify the menstrual cycle as the monthly changes a woman’s body goes through in preparation for a possible pregnancy.
Beyond the menstrual cycle, women seemed equally confused by menopause. One in 10 thought menopause simply meant a woman had entered her 40s and 13% thought it was a woman skipping a menstrual cycle.
57% of the women surveyed admitted they don’t know as much about women’s anatomy as they should and 42% wished they had a better understanding of what the different organs in the reproductive system do.
Over a third (35%) want to know when a woman is her most fertile and three in 10 (29%) want a breakdown of the different stages of pregnancy.
When asked who they blame for their lack of knowledge, one in three (36%) said teachers, while 28% blame their parents.
One in four (27%) said their lack of knowledge was due to government education standards or religious organizations (24%).
Wht women don’t know as much about their anatomy
People who women say are responsible for their gap in knowledge:
- Teachers – 36%
- Parents – 28%
- Government education standards – 27%
- Religious organisations – 24%
- Siblings – 16%
- Childhood caregivers – 11%
What women want to know more about:
- What different organs do – 42%
- Menopause and perimenopause – 38%
- When a woman is most fertile – 35%
- How reproductive system works – 31%
- Stages of pregnancy – 29%
- Menstruation -16%
- Puberty – 8%
All this lack of knowledge has the potential for real-life consequences. Over half of respondents (52%) think their knowledge gaps are preventing them from advocating for themselves in the doctor’s office.
54% don’t remember or haven’t advice from a medical provider on alternative menstrual hygiene products other than pads and tampons.
Danela Žagar, INTIMINA Global Brand Manager commented: ‘The fact that nearly one in four women in the survey misidentified the vagina and 46% could not correctly identify the cervix shows we need to keep educating the public about how the reproductive system, its monthly processes, and hormonal changes can impact a woman’s life.
‘Only by understanding how our bodies work, can we understand possible health changes and issues we could be experiencing.
‘This research shows that, even though it is 2020, women don’t know enough about their bodies and as a result, are not able to take an active role in their care.
‘Knowing their bodies and knowing how the reproductive system works gives women the power to be able to advocate for their well-being and get the support they need.’
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