Women all over the world have struggled for centuries with the fundamental need to control when they bear child. Even in developed countries as here in America, access to contraception is only relatively recent, and a right that is constantly being threatened under pretexts of religion and morality. As a woman, nothing pushes my buttons more than hearing patriarchal injunctions against proven contraception methods. The fact that family planning is hardly mentioned in all the sustainability discourse, including some of the most progressive blogs, is no coincidence.
When Gary Peters alerted me to the coming out of Robert Engelman‘s new book, More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want, I thought, good, here is a man who’s finally got it. The great thing about Engelman‘s work is that it is based on extensive research with women from all over the world, over a long period of more than 25 years:
“It makes sense that those who bear children and do most of the work in raising them should have the final say in when, and when not, to do so. By making their own decisions based on what’s best for themselves and their children, women ultimately bring about a global good that governments could never deliver through regulation or control: a population in balance with nature’s resources. . . what women want, is not more children, but more for their children, and we can be thankful for that.“
Seems simple enough. Next comes the question of, how come universal access to contraception and family planning education are not at the forefront of top level discussions on climate change and sustainability?