Working towards population stabilization translates directly into working against oppressive cultural practices such as gender-based violence, genital mutilation, prostitution, slavery, and child marriage. These unacceptable human behaviors, often rooted in heavy-handed paternalism, combine with the low status of women in many societies around the world to keep fertility elevated at unnaturally high levels: because they rob women of any real choice in determining how many children they truly want to have. For example, child brides have nothing to say about how many children they will have or when.
Unrestricted access to family planning information and services is another crucial solution. The United Nations estimates that just $3.5 billion per year would provide contraceptive information and services to 225+ million women in the developing world who want to avoid a pregnancy but who are not using a modern method of contraception. It is an outrage that the global community has yet to muster this financing. On the other hand, where contraceptives may be physically available many women abstain from using them because of misinformation or blatant lies about possible side effects or risks of using modern methods. Still other women have more children than they truly want because of fatalism, or religious teachings, or insistent in-laws who want more grandchildren. Empowering women around the world to be free of such oppressions, including universal access to primary and secondary education, are some of the most important solutions to ending population growth.
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