Source: The Mercury, 30 August, 1999, p.3
By BRONWYN HURRELL in Sydney YOUNG women are developing more conservative outlooks with almost half of them believing 16 is too young to have sex, new research shows. And despite a trend towards independence, many young women still admit to dressing to impress men. A telephone survey conducted of 16 to 28-year-old women by B magazine has revealed a conservative pen-portrait of 1990s women. The women's magazine directed at 20-30 year-olds found: * About 60% like to make themselves look nice to impress men. * More than 60% believe they will be married within 10 years. * Almost half believe 16 is too young to have sex. The results suggested women were more conservative than women in the 1970s and 1980s. And it pointed to AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases for reasons behind the move towards "traditional" values. While 43% supported a woman's right to have an abortion if there was not enough money to raise a child, 48% said 16 was too young for sex. But a leading researcher into women's social lives disputed the findings, saying they probably only represented a specific type of young woman. Dr Charlotte de Crespigny, a health researcher who studies young women's social lives, said there was more often "mixed responses" to these issues. "What might look like conserva- tism is actually a reaction to continuing inequality or environ- mental threats young women are trying to contend with while they still play out their new roles as independent human beings," she said. "They're still having to deal with inequality in their social lives, particularly in places like hotels because of sexual harassment." Dr de Crespigny said a different young women's culture had emerged in the l990s "and I definitely wouldn't say it is conservative". She said the popularity of "pub crawls" among women suggested they were not becoming more socially conservative. "Younger women are definitely talking about being single, exploring their social lives themselves," she said. "I think they certainly believe in themselves as equal beings with males, but often the environment doesn't allow that to be."
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