Future challenges of
Rights and choices are the answer
The reason behind celebrating World Population Day is to highlight the difficulties created by overpopulation and increasing awareness about how overpopulation may harm the ecosystem and progress of humanity. The day also discusses family planning, poverty, sexual equality, maternal health, civil rights, and the health concerns that child-bearing women confront.
The issue of population is also causing strain on society. Heinous crimes are happening more than ever in the areas of gender inequality and human rights, especially in developing countries. Leadership is already doing a subpar job at taking care of its citizens, and as more people come into the world, violations such as human trafficking and child labour are increasingly becoming normal.
The theme for the World Population Day 2021 was “Rights and choices are the Answer: Whether baby boom or bust, the solution to shifting fertility rates lies in prioritizing all people’s reproductive health and rights.” This year, the day was focused on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on fertility. No doubt, the pandemic has compromised healthcare systems mainly in the area of sexual and reproductive health. As per the research conducted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in March, an estimated 12 million women experienced disruptions to family planning services.
The pandemic has compromised healthcare systems particularly in the area of sexual and reproductive health. It also exposed and exacerbated gender-based inequities: gender-based violence increased under lockdown as did the risk of child marriage and female genital mutilation as programmes to abolish the harmful practices were disrupted. Significant number of women left the labour force — their often low-paying jobs were eliminated or care-giving responsibilities for children learning remotely or for homebound older people increased — destabilizing their finances, not just for now but in the long run. Against this backdrop, many countries are expressing growing concern over changing fertility rates. Historically, alarmism over fertility rates has led to abrogations of human rights.
Fertility rates and life expectancy have changed dramatically in recent years. Women had an average of 4.5 children in the early 1970s; by 2015, global fertility had dropped to below 2.5 children per woman. In the mean time, worldwide average life-spans have increased from 64.6 years in the early 1990s to 72.6 years in 2019. Millions of women, globally, are still not given access to safe and effective family planning methods. A basic human right is to be able to get safe and effective family planning. It should also be a voluntary choice. Gender equality and women’s empowerment depend on it. Furthermore, it is a key factor in reducing poverty.
There are a number of outstanding non-profits and non-governmental organizations working on population concerns, particularly in developing countries. They include organizations that educate women about contraception and family planning, as well as those that assist people in overcoming poverty and those that assist refugees who have fled their homes due to environmental issues or human rights violations.
World Population Day, of course, serves as a reminder to reflect on current population trends and challenges that affect how people live today. It is, however, primarily concerned to decreasing population growth.
The more people are added to the population, the more power and food is needed to sustain all of them. It’s hard to keep up that food and power production at the rate that the population is growing and efforts to do so are contributing greatly to climate change, which affects you no matter where you live.
The writer is a member of staff.