Sunday, October 07, 2007

Women's rights and population issues

When reading The Japan Times last week I skipped by the headline "Population Woes Said Best Served by Aiding Women" because I am used to hearing that overpopulation issues can be humanely addressed by advocating for women's rights and opportunities. But my perceptive husband encouraged me to take a second look--in Japan, the population problem is one of an aging population and declining birthrate, resulting in negative population growth. So Japan is taking advice from France, whose government has programs in place to support working mothers, an effort that has achieved a turnaround in the nation's birthrate since the 1990's.

So here's the common sense conclusion of the day: if helping women is good for overpopulation and depopulation, isn't it good for everybody? We are settling for so little societal support as we make huge contributions in home life and the paid workforce. I am an impatient activist. Globally, “Women do two-thirds of the world’s work, receive 10 percent of the world’s income and own 1 percent of the means of production." We in the United States at least have the means and the voice to speak up and work harder to truly secure our own rights and work to help our sisters throughout the world.

For those of us who grew up in the 1970's, to us it may have felt briefly like feminism's job was almost done. But the more I learn, especially in the area of gender issues related to motherhood, the more I realize that our generation needs to pick up the ball and keep on running toward the goal of equality and human rights.

I lost touch with academic feminism in the 1990's. Many arguments about porn versus owning our sexuality pretty much flew over my head as I was working in another field. But now that I am a Mom in the real world, I see feminism and politics tied to key bread-and-butter economic and human rights issues for all women.

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Blogger Tyler said...

Population Action International released a new report at Women Deliver: A Measure of Survival: Calculating Women's Sexual and Reproductive Risk.

This report is unique because it recognizes that there are many factors that contribute to a woman's sexual and reproductive health. A Measure of Survival puts all the pieces of the puzzle together to form a complete picture. The report ranks 130 developing and developed countries according to sexual and reproductive risks, and provides steps to improve the lives of women, particularly in regards to their reproductive health, in all countries.

Tyler LePard

11:37 AM  

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