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Question – “Empowering women is the key to control population growth”. Discuss. – 1 July 2021
Population control has been a serious challenge for almost all democratic developing countries. Due to the large population and its rapid growth, the benefits of the efforts being made for development are often not visible, and it becoming a complex challenge for the policy-makers. By the year 1994, the total population of developing countries was around 4.5 billion. To solve the problem of population growth, the governments of the countries laid special emphasis on family planning policy, so that the rate of population growth could be stopped. The implementation of various policies resulted in a substantial increase in the use of contraceptives. As a result, there was also an effective reduction in the total fertility rate.
It is astonishing that in spite of this great change in reproduction, the population growth continued to be uninterrupted. The population of India increased from 86.64 crores in 1991 to 102.87 crores in 2001 and reached 120.20 crores in the year 2011.
It is noteworthy that despite the decrease in the fertility rate, the main reason for population growth is the entry of adolescent girls into the breeding group and the low social status of women with low participation in decision making. Along with this, population control could not be effective due to lack of access to better health and education facilities, women’s participation in governance at the grassroots level and family planning programmes.
Role of empowerment in the prevention of population growth
- Even today, for the use of contraceptives, most women depend on the wishes of the elders of the family. Empowerment will empower women to make decisions about family size.
- Economic empowerment will enable women to pay for access to better health facilities.
- Two-child norms, universal primary education, special emphasis on girl child education, economic equality and empowerment resulting from better health care will strengthen population growth control.
- At the time of giving birth to the first child through empowerment, the difference in the birth of children and self-determination in the age of marriage will also control the population growth.
The abundance of opportunities for women opens doors for parents to invest in the girl child. Empowerment thus empowers a woman to abstain from sexual activity after marriage, relative powerlessness, female sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.