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International Women’s Day 2013

Women’s empowerment is a fundamental requirement for sustainability and a prosperous future.

Women’s empowerment is a requirement for sustainability and is in the interests of all, men and women.   Only when women are fully empowered can they make independent choices, with their partners, about the timing and number of their children.

This ability to choose is key to reducing global birth rates to replacement level, which itself is necessary to achieve long term sustainability, protect the environment and biodiversity, slow climate change and ensure that there are sufficient resources for everyone.  Only by ending and then reversing human population growth will there be sufficient resources to raise the living standards of the world’s poor.

Women’s empowerment requires:

  • An acceptance that women should play a full role in social, political and economic life
  • Universal access to modern family planning and maternal health services
  • Equal access to education
  • Equal access to employment
  • Equal property, legal and other rights
  • Legal and social protection from violence, inside and outside the home
  • An end to female genital mutilation and child marriage
  • Poverty alleviation
  • Peace and security.

Commented Simon Ross “Women and couples, given the ability to choose and the right circumstances, typically choose to have smaller families.  Smaller families are a precondition for sustainability.  Consequently, women’s empowerment should be included in all strategies with the goals of sustainability, environmental protection and poverty alleviation.”