Women’s reproductive autonomy as the new catchword

Source: The post is based on the article “Women’s reproductive autonomy as the new catchword” published in “The Hindu” on 11th July 2023.

Syllabus: GS 1- Population and associated issues & Social empowerment

News: world population day (July 11) theme ‘Unleashing the power of gender equality: Uplifting the voices of women and girls to unlock our world’s infinite possibilities’

How is the World population day theme relevant to India?

The theme of this year’s World Population Day, ‘Unleashing the power of gender equality’, resonates powerfully with India.

When we empower women and girls, we harness a wealth of leadership, creativity, and innovation. In India, women-led development across various sectors must prioritize reproductive autonomy.

Why is there a reframe in population perspective?

Global obsessions with population size and fertility rates have overshadowed reproductive autonomy. It’s vital to understand there are no ‘ideal’ numbers. Genuine population stability comes when reproductive and sexual health decisions are discrimination-free, services are affordable and high-quality, and women and couples can choose their family size.

What progress has India made in family planning?

Despite challenges, India has made strides in family planning.

The country provides a comprehensive reproductive health services package, including modern contraceptives, counselling, and emergency contraception.

Through the Family Planning 2030 partnership, India expands contraceptive choices, increasing women’s rights and autonomy.

What are the achievements of India’s health, population and development programmes?

India’s programmes have steadily improved over the years. Life expectancy has increased significantly, with Indians now living a decade longer than in the 1990s.

Maternal mortality rates have dropped from 254 in 2004 to 97 per 100,000 live births. Child marriages have halved since 2000, teen pregnancies have decreased, and access to essential services has improved.

What hurdles to gender equality persist in India?

Despite progress, many Indian women lack physical autonomy. The recent National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) reveals that only 10% of Indian women can independently make health decisions. Almost half of all pregnancies in India are unplanned.

What are the benefits of advancing gender equality?

Gender equality benefits all of society. In aging societies, gender parity in the workforce improves productivity. In countries with rapid population growth, empowering women through education and family planning can significantly boost human capital and inclusive economic development.

What opportunities does gender equality offer to India’s Economy?

Raising women’s labour force participation by 10 percentage points could contribute to more than 70% of the potential GDP growth opportunity ($770 billion additional GDP by 2025), presenting a significant chance to advance gender equality and grow the economy.

What investments are needed for gender equality?

Achieving gender equality requires investments at all stages of a woman’s life. Initiatives must engage with women, girls, and marginalized groups and empower them through legislative and policy changes.

How does world population day promote gender equality?

World Population Day reaffirms the commitment to placing individual rights, especially women’s rights and wellbeing, at the center of population and development discussions. Gender-just approaches are foundational for a more prosperous India and world.

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