Population Matters, the UK’s leading body campaigning for sustainable populations, welcomes the UK Government’s Department for International Development confirmation that maternal health and family planning are key elements of its future aid programme. For International Women’s Day 2011, we reiterate that effective access to affordable family planning must remain a core part of the campaign for gender equality.
The UN Millennium Development Goal of universal access to family planning by 2015 is the goal where least progress has been made. One hundred years after the first International Women’s Day, 215 million women still lack access to modern family planning while one in three women give birth without a trained attendant.
- Family planning is a health issue. Although maternal health has improved in recent years, birth-related issues remain a major cause of death for women of child-bearing age in many developing countries.
- Family planning is a gender empowerment issue. Women’s ability to control their own fertility is fundamental to their ability to develop independent economic roles and manage their own lives.
- Family planning is a development issue. Countries which have to support a high birth rate find it harder to direct their financial and human resources to development.
- Family planning is a biodiversity issue. Countries with fast-growing populations are seeing their natural habitats and ecosystems destroyed through inevitable and relentless exploitation.
- Family planning is a resource and climate change issue. As the world industrialises, our ever-growing numbers are an important contributor to human impact on available resources such as food, water, energy and even climate.
As we approach 2015, we need to see access to family planning, not just as an issue of health or even simply as an issue for women, but as one that is fundamental to all our futures.