Women Empowerment As A Means Of Population Control

2207 words - 9 pages

The developing world faces unprecedented amounts of pressure on issues such as economic development, poverty, inadequate sanitation and today more than ever, population crises. According to the Eager’s theory of demographic transition, there are three fundamental stages in development. Stage one has high death rates and high fertility rates. Stage two comprises of a decrease in death rates due to better medical treatment and continued high fertility rates (this means high population growth rates). Stage three is in the long-run and consists of a decrease in fertility rates which are accompanied by industrialization. Most developing countries are in the second stage. This has magnificently increased an insurmountable amount of pressure on governments, especially in the provision of education, health care and food security, and the government’s ability to raise standards of living.
Thomas Malthus, an 18th century economist, voraciously argued that overpopulation would inevitably deplete all natural resources, increase poverty, and social disorder. Despite that his predictions did not include technology improvements, his pessimistic views are the reasons behind the major emphasis on population control. Neo-Malthusian analysts have been arguing that developing nations have no time to reduce fertility rates through social development like developed nations did. Thus the only cost effective way to defuse the population bomb is through direct reduction of fertility rates. The most influential conferences that resulted in major emphasis on the population control through reduction of fertility rates include the Teheran conference in 1968 and the Cairo conference of 1994. The Teheran conference concluded that population growth contributed to international conflict, and it created obstacles to the socioeconomic development of developing countries. On the other hand, the Cairo conference spear-headed by ICPD (International Conference on Population Development), concluded that population policies should focus on women’s reproductive health. The Cairo conference established a platform for gender equality which emphasized women’s empowerment to control their own reproductive behavior.
After the Cairo conference, most developing countries adopted population control methods focusing mainly on the empowerment of women and gender equality. In the earlier years, ecologists such as Garret Hardin argued that without coercion there will always be a group of people that are not in acquiescence with the use of prescribed methods for population control. Hardin concluded that it is this group that increases the population in the future. This paper on the other hand will argue that strategies which focus on changing gender roles and empowering women as a means to control population growth are effective in the long run but lack immediate impact. However, they accommodate women’s rights, and change societal and economic reasons that cause population explosions....

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