Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sustainability #2: Population and the Role of Women

My Sustainability posts spring from my forum posts in the free Sustainability Course, offered by the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, which I am participating in.

The Economist article in our Week 2 reading list asks: "Does...lower fertility cause wealth, or does wealth lower fertility? It would be better to say that the two things go together."

One thing is clear: looking at population alone comes with great costs (like the one-child policy of China). Quality of life is a far more humane context. Another observation: wherever women have access to education, jobs and status...the fertility rate has lowered and consequently the country enjoys higher standards of living. Empowered women transform the world. So, for people worried about the decline of the birth's still the same answer...go talk to the women.

In the Philippines, there is currently a raging debate whether our RH (reproductive health) bill should be passed. It has been delayed for 14 years. Our Catholic Church, particularly the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) is rabidly against the passing of the bill. Those who are against the bill question the need to make it a law and bring up heresy (in this day and age) and disobedience to church teachings as a way to threaten people who are openly for the bill (including one of the framers of our constitution, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, a Jesuit priest).  Today, the bill is now in its period of amendment and will be voted on soon.

I've always known that women, particularly those from our poorest sectors, will play a big role in the transformation of our country. But never has it been more clear than now.

Illustration from Wikimedia Commons. Published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US.

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