The United Nations laid out a plan 20 years ago to address population growth by giving women better access to reproductive rights, and we did it! WE FUCKING DID IT, the global fertility rate is dropping, and the world is a much better place for women, uterus owners, and anyone who doesn't want childbirth to kill them or make their lives suck exponentially. But hold on to your high-fivin' hands—this is pretty much only the case if you're filthy fucking rich.
In poor countries, indicators of women's well-being (maternal death, child marriage, educational access) has seen little progress in the last 20 years.
The gains were most striking in education. In a majority of countries, there was gender parity in primary education, though there were abiding gaps in secondary schools and college. Maternal mortality fell by 47 percent over the last 20 years, though, the report pointed out, 800 women continue to die every day while giving birth. Global fertility rates fell by 23 percent between 1990 and 2010, reflecting rising education, life expectancy and access to contraception.
The report concluded: “Progress has been unequal and fragmented."
Well, it can't be THAT terri—oh, shit:
“In conditions of structural poverty,” the report said, “the threats to women’s survival are especially acute, due to the lack of access to health services, particularly sexual and reproductive health services, and the extreme physical burdens of food production, water supply and unpaid labor that fall disproportionately on poor women.”
The structural and economic inequality that women experience seems to be tied to our larger cultural issue of wealth, namely that less than 1% of adults control over 40% of the wealth. Some of the richest nations—the United States, Brazil,China—have archaic or oppressive attitudes towards reproductive health, and 17 of the 20 wealthiest people in the world are men.
One of the largest indicators of poverty for women is childbirth, and family planning works. But over 215 miilion women who want to use birth control have no access to it, and constantly having babies greatly impacts their ability to work, get an education, or address poverty in a lasting way. A lot of people blame the problem on meritocracy, but it's really difficult to pull yourself up by your bootstraps when you don't own any boots and there's a 10lb. baby hanging from your tits.