Quarter of women in America don’t know where their vagina is, survey finds

More than half of women cannot correctly label the female reproductive system on a diagram, new poll finds

Jade Bremner
Tuesday 10 November 2020 10:00 GMT
Could you identify the parts of your reproductive system?
Could you identify the parts of your reproductive system?
Leer en Español

A new poll in the United States revealed the lack of education women have around the female reproductive system, with only one in four being able to correctly identify the vagina on a diagram.

According to the survey, that polled 2000 women, 46 per cent could not identify the cervix and more than half (59 per cent) of people asked identified the uterus as a different body part.

Only one woman in 10 knew the names of all the parts of the female reproductive diagram.

“The fact that nearly one in four women in the survey misidentified the vagina and 46 per cent 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," said Danela Žagar, global brand manager for Intimina, the company that commissioned the survey.

Women were also asked to describe what the menstrual cycle was, in the poll carried out by OnePoll. Many were confused as to why their periods actually happened.

One woman thought periods "got rid of bacteria" another had a similar idea, saying in her answer that periods were for "detoxification".

A quarter of those asked replied with it's "the process a women’s body goes through to shed excess blood". More than half (63 per cent) were able to offer the correct explanation, that the body is shedding its uterine lining as part of the menstrual cycle.

Knowledge was also severely lacking when it came to the menopause, with 13 per cent thinking menopause was missing a period, and 10 per cent thinking it was to do with turning 40.

Around one in three (36 per cent) of the women in the poll blamed their teachers for the gaps in their knowledge on the reproductive organs. 

Around a quarter blamed religious organisations, 27 per cent blamed government education standards, and 28 per cent blamed their parents for the failings.

Research released in October found almost one in four girls and young women didn’t know what was happening when they first started their period. 

Research by WaterAid, which polled 1,000 young people aged between 14 and 21 living in the UK, found almost a quarter would describe periods as embarrassing, while a fifth would refer to them as “gross”.

YouGov research from 2019, also shows a worrying lack of knowledge in the UK when it comes to the female reproductive system. 

“Half of Britons could not identify or describe the function of the urethra (58 per cent), labia (47 per cent) or vagina (52 per cent),” found YouGov. Women were slightly better than the men surveyed with 55 per cent being able to label the vagina and 41 per cent of men being able to do the same.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in