Gender and Population Issues
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- This page: https://www.globalissues.org/article/217/gender-and-population-issues.
- To print all information (e.g. expanded side notes, shows alternative links), use the print version:
Tackling the socio-economic issues, providing access to family planning, healthcare and other related information, would help address many issues described above, especially in many developing nations where such provisions are not easily available (privately or publicly).
By ensuring women's rights can be upheld, and realizing that women play a crucial role in the development of society, many underlying issues which lead to conflict and problems can be tackled more effectively. Better care, education and rights for women mean that children should also benefit. This can eventually allow a society to enjoy more rights and hopefully the society can be enriched. Yet, as seen in the poverty section of this web site, these very same provisions are being cut back, oftentimes as a result of harsh structural adjustment policies imposed by the IMF.
Just a few decades ago, people would think of population control. Today however, the emphasis is more on educating women and providing more information for women's reproductive rights.
It must be noted though, that "studies published by different researchers in 1994 came to the same conclusion as the original Hernández study: the contribution of family planning to fertility decline is negligible compared to the contribution of socioeconomic change [but] are critical to the extension of human freedom, especially the freedom of women to control their reproduction" as reproduced in this link.
The structural adjustment policies have also been shown to hurt the ability for governments to improve the health of women and family planning services world-wide. These and other economic effects (which lead to various social effects) are often overlooked.
If it is realized that families in conditions of poverty may make an economic choice of having more children (to increase the likelihood of surviving), then economic, health, education and social security provisions would be understood to be a larger factor in helping women determine to have less children.
This report suggests that declines in birth-rates world-wide could help various environment problems. In some cases, a large population itself may not be a problem, as long as development is sustainable to avoid the potential problems mentioned above. What is relevant though is a women's reproductive rights and a positive socio-economic environment.
Political issues, such as the United State's and some European nation's general dislike of the UN and the serious arrears in funding can affect major initiatives by the UN (which admittedly isn't perfect, but then again, nothing really is and the UN has more experience in development and social issues on such a scale than perhaps any other organization, institution, or body. It also provides a basis for a multilateral and inclusive attempt at solutions increasing the chance that view points of more people are considered).
Even the Vatican has proved an obstacle to developing and enhancing women's rights. For more about that, see this web site's section on Women's Rights where the Beijing +5 conference also mentions and links issues about the Vatican and women's rights.
Some people or governments, for example, oppose some of the UNFPA's family planning practices which they believe supports abortion, which they are against. The USA for example, has faced a lot of stern opposition from right-wing Christian groups to reduce spending, as the latter half of this report suggests. However, part of the UNFPA's work is about providing better family planning and information access to help prevent the need for abortion. Funding for the UNFPA and other organizations can therefore suffer and so additional work such as the extensive effort to help tackle the problem of AIDS and related problem also suffers. This is especially worrying as the AIDS epidemic in some areas of the world is very high and not getting much mainstream media attention, while women are often more vulnerable to infection.
Lack of understanding on some of the work being done by various groups then means that many people can end up without the help they could have received and so the misery continues.
Empowering women, providing better education etc are also related to economic circumstances to some extent, as mentioned by Robbins, who quotes Handwerker in a study on changes in patterns of family relations:
Education and empowerment for women is definitely important. It is not to say there should be none. It is to recognize that as well as providing better education, the economic environment must be improved upon so that education can be made use of.
For more information on Gender and Population related issues, check out these links:
- A report called "Using Human Rights to Gain Reproductive Rights" is a great look at a number of issues around women's rights and human rights in the international arena today. It has a lot of facts and statistics. Worth reading!
- But we don't have time also shows that simply providing birth-control technology through family planning programs doesn't affect population growth all that much.
- An entire issue from New Internationalist magazine on reproductive rights.
- The United Nation's Population Fund, UNFPA.
- The BBC's report, Population Pressure and Conflict
- This web site's section on women's rights.
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