World Population Day : 7.9 Billion Solutions On Gender Equity

World population day 2021
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Never before had population grown so rapidly. Now, world population moves closer to 8 billion. 
Population is growing faster than ever! World population has reached 7.9 billion people and is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050.  

World Population Day  

World Population Day was established by United Nations Development Programme in 1989; inspired by the Day of Five Billion, two years prior, which put the spotlight on the unprecedented human population growth on the planet.
 
The World Population Day aims to draw attention  towards  the issues of growing population and to show everyone just how vulnerable we are as a population.This year’s theme for World Population Day – Rights and choices are the answer: Whether baby boom or bust, the solution to shifting fertility rates lies in prioritising the reproductive health and rights of all people. It is also a reminder of the challenges we face globally due to overpopulation. The World Population Day theme 2021 is

RELEVANT SUSTAINABLE GOALS 

7.9 Billion Solutions 

World population has reached 7.9 billion people and is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050. This tremendous increase has its roots in the unprecedented decrease in mortality that began in the 19th century in the more developed parts of the world. As UN states, the growth in populace has been driven largely by ‘increasing numbers of people surviving to reproductive age, and has been accompanied by major changes in fertility rates, increasing urbanization and accelerating migration’. It warns that these trends will have far-reaching implications for generations to come.
 
The recent past has seen enormous changes in fertility rates and life expectancy. In the early 1970s, women had on average 4.5 children each; by 2015, total fertility for the world had fallen to below 2.5 children per woman. Meanwhile, average global lifespans have risen, from 64.6 years in the early 1990s to  72.6 years in 2019.
 
In addition, the world is seeing high levels of urbanization and accelerating migration. 2007 was the first year in which more people lived in urban areas than in rural areas, and by 2050 about 66 per cent of the world population will be living in cities.
 
These megatrends have far-reaching implications. They affect economic development, employment, income distribution, poverty and social protections. They also affect efforts to ensure universal access to health care, education, housing, sanitation, water, food and energy. To more sustainably address the needs of individuals, policymakers must understand how many people are living on the planet, where they are, how old they are, and how many people will come after them.
 
All in all, the development and operations of a country hugely depend upon the size of the population of a country. And larger the population of a country, the difficult it becomes to develop at a faster pace. And hence, curbing the situation of overpopulation is necessary, be it on a country’s level or a global level for the sustainable development of our available resources. 

Overpopulation, Pandemic and Gender Equity Issues

The pandemic has compromised health care systems particularly in the area of sexual and reproductive health. The UNFPA highlights that the COVID-19 crisis is having a strong impact on fertility worldwide. In a survey published in April 2021, the World Health Organization found that more than 40% of countries reported disruptions to family planning and contraception services as a result of COVID-19.
 
The second year of pandemic also exposed and exacerbated gender-based inequities: gender-based violence increased under lockdown, as did the risk of child marriage and female genital mutilation as programmes to abolish the harmful practices were disrupted. Significant numbers of women left the labour force – their often low-paying jobs were eliminated or caregiving responsibilities for children learning remotely or for homebound older people increased – destabilizing their finances, not just for now but in the long run.   
Women around the world are facing variations of dilemma. Escalating care-taking responsibilities have forced many to leave the workforce. Others were only precariously or informally employed to begin with; many of those jobs vanished under pandemic restrictions. For these women, as the pandemic compounds their burdens and deepens gender inequalities, the choice to become a mother increasingly looks like no choice at all. 
 
At the same time, almost half of women in 57 countries around the world are denied the freedom to decide on what to do with their own bodies, the United Nations said in a report on Wednesday. This includes issues around sex, contraception and health care. This bitter reality should be a wake-up call for everyones, including governments, policymakers and development institutions.

The unmet need for family planning information services and supplies was enormous before the pandemic – some 214 million girls and women wanted to plan their pregnancy but were unable to access appropriate care before the pandemic struck. Those numbers have only increased dramatically.

Jill Sheffield, Chair, Committee on Contraception and Family Planning (FIGO)

Empowered To Choose  

The best way to address population and gender equality issue is to support the human rights and welfare of women and girls everywhere. This means accelerating efforts to empower women educationally, economically and politically. It means supporting an end to discriminatory practices and norms that disadvantage women in the workplace and home. And it means addressing their needs in a holistic way, from providing comprehensive sexuality education, to ensuring accessible sexual and reproductive health services, to making childcare programmes more readily available. 

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Rights and empowerment should be at the heart of the changes.
As we celebrate World Population Day today, let’s consider what kind of population we are shaping. To make it one where they can find decent work, enjoy clean environments and benefit from good services, we need to act today to ensure the rights of all. Leaving no one behind begins when we recognize the duties owed to all members of society, and work to overcome the disadvantages put in the way of marginalized groups.
Also Read : 

Guilt, Weariness, and Fury : Unspoken Problems of Maternal Mental Health 

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