Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies

First Advisor

Suzanne Benack

Second Advisor

Jill-Marie Murphy




education, young adults, instruction, inequality, policy


Sex education in its current form is insufficient for our children and young adults. The already meager sex education in the United States widely varies in approach and pedagogy, if it is provided at all (Guttmacher, 2017). A report on sex education mandates by the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy center for sexuality and reproductive rights, illustrates that only 24 states mandate sex education, two of which do not require it in conjunction with HIV education. Thirteen states require the provided information to be medically accurate. Additionally, 38 states require the school district to involve parents in the education of their children, where parents are provided notice about the course, consent to the class, or opt their child out. Regarding the mandated types of education provided, 37 states require abstinence to be taught, 26 of which demand it to be highly emphasized. Lastly, their research concludes that 18 states require information regarding contraception to be provided to students. The policies enacted that mandated programs or certain topics to be taught only scratch the surface for a successful program. It is within the local and state policies that the description and goals of a course or program are developed.