Why the silence on population?
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The tripling of the world’s population growth since 1960 has received little public attention the past decade. Six reasons for the silence around this subject constitute a “perfect storm”. The first five are: visibility of actual fertility decline in the developed countries as well as a number of the developing ones; well justified attention to the impact of high levels of consumption on the environment; an implicit welcome by conservative political and religious forces to reduced needs for family planning; the tragedy of AIDS dominating international health concerns; and the 1994 Cairo conference’s focus on examples of coercive family planning while nearly ignoring the coercion of women forced into unwanted childbearing. These five relatively new developments have been supported by standard demographic theory containing an assumption that couples naturally want many children, making it difficult to see the many barriers blocking women’s options to manage their own childbearing.
KeywordsFamily planning Barriers Cairo Fertility Silence Perfect storm
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