My name is Rachel Butler, and I’m a rising Tulane senior studying Economics and Latin American Studies. This summer, I will be working as a research intern and collaborating with Professor Melanie Huska of Tulane’s History Department on the history of sex education in Mexico. This interdisciplinary project examines sex education in Mexico, beginning with the state’s earliest attempts to implement sex education policies in the 1930s throughout the 20th century. More generally, the project analyzes the various means through which people access information on sex, sexuality and gender and the ways in which sex education has shaped societal attitudes towards gender roles and cultural identity in Mexico.
I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to investigate a topic that combines many of my academic interests. Though the focus of this project is history, it also relates closely to economics. In Mexico, not everyone has equal access to health services, education, and other social services. This research has important implications for inequality, as more equitable access to sex education and family planning resources may help to alleviate poverty and create sustainable development. Due to the limited success and coverage of state-implemented policies, we will also examine popular culture (including comic books, telenovelas, and radio programming), which has served as important informal methods of sex education.