Bad Choices: The Impact of Social Forces on Girls’ Sexual Lives (3 CEUs)

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Cost and Registration

$25 for UBSSW alumni
$35 for all others


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Registration: 5:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Presentation: 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm 


114 Wende Hall, South Campus, Buffalo (new location)

Closest parking lots include Abbott, Townsend and Diefendorf Lots. Please note that while parking is open after 3pm on campus, it is still at a premium, so give yourself enough time to park and find the building.


Young women’s sexuality is a frequent topic of conversation, whether debating if dress codes are sexist, if #metoo has gone “too far,” if young women’s displays of sexuality are signs of empowerment or objectification, and how consent gets negotiated and communicated. As complex as these conversations are, they are often narrow: focused only on sexuality and leaving out the other domains of girls’ lives; or focused only on girls with relative social privilege and leaving out those contending with social injustices such as racism and poverty.

This workshop will be a time and place for us to consider how the broader circumstances of girls’ lives affect their sexual choices: both the choices they make and the choices they have available to them in the first place. We will review and reflect on contemporary research and theory regarding young women’s sexuality, paying special attention to the perspectives and experiences of those marginalized by social norms and material conditions. We will also consider how social workers across fields of practice can advocate for the sexual rights and well-being of all young women.


  1. Consider contemporary discourse regarding young women’s sexuality, including “hot topics” such as consent, dress codes, objectification, empowerment, and agency;
  2. Examine evidence of how interlocked forms of social injustice affect young women’s sexual lives;
  3. Analyze the role of conventional theories of gender, adolescence, and sexuality in perpetuating young women’s sexual vulnerability; and
  4. Identify opportunities for social workers to pursue structural and ideological change to support young women’s sexual rights.

CEUs for New York State LMSWs & LCSWs

NY LMSW & LCSW contact hours are being provided through the University at Buffalo School of Social Work’s Office of Continuing Education. This Office is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0001. Full attendance is required; no partial credit will be awarded for partial attendance. 3 live contact hours have been approved.

Questions about CEU's?

Please contact the Office of Continuing Education

Phone: 716-829-5847



Laina Bay-Cheng, MSW, PhD

Dr. Laina Y. Bay-Cheng is a Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Development at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and earned her MSW and PhD through the University of Michigan’s joint doctoral program in Social Work and Psychology while affiliated with UM’s Institute for Research on Women & Gender. She joined the School of Social Work in 2005 and served as PhD Program Director from 2012-2019.

Since the beginning of her career, Bay-Cheng has concentrated her research on the imprint of social forces and material conditions on young women’s sexual lives. She combines empirical and conceptual analyses to shift attention away from individual-focused models of sexual risk and toward the systemic roots of girls’ and women’s sexual vulnerability: interlocked gender, class, race, and age-based inequalities and the ideologies that perpetuate them. Reflecting her interdisciplinary background and perspective, she uses diverse theories and methods in her scholarship and publishes in journals across disciplines.

Bay-Cheng is currently pursuing two lines of research: first, she continues to interrogate how neoliberal ideology pervades sexuality discourse, including its trumpeting of agency, choice, and consent, often to the detriment of young women; and second, she is using Martha Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach to study the gap between the sexual rights and resources that marginalized young women have “on paper” and those that are practicable “on the ground.”

Laina Bay-Cheng.

Laina Bay-Cheng

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Customer Service

We are happy to respond to any concerns or questions you may have. Please contact Sarah Watson by email at or by phone at 716-645-1259.