Media release – reduce population growth: educate girls.

10 July 2009

Media Releases 2009

Population Australia



Theme for 2009: Fight
Poverty: Educate Girls


10th  July 2009




Educating girls is a critical means of reducing
fertility and in turn cutting population growth, according to Sustainable
Population Australia Inc. (SPA).

National President of SPA, Ms Sandra Kanck, says
population growth is having a devastating impact on the environment and is
impeding the fight against poverty in poorer countries.

“Every year, there are nearly 80 million more
mouths to feed,” says Ms Kanck. “In a world where over a billion
people are now hungry, we must get global population growth down to zero as
soon as possible. We must reduce fertility to a maximum average of two children
per woman in all countries.”

Ms Kanck notes that the World Bank recognises that
women with formal education are much more likely to use reliable family
planning methods, delay marriage and childbearing, and have fewer and healthier
babies than women with no formal education.

“It estimates that one year of female schooling
reduces fertility by 10 percent. The effect is particularly pronounced for
secondary schooling,” says Ms Kanck.

Ms Kanck emphasises that educating women is not the
only means of reducing population growth.

“Universal access to reproductive health,
including contraception, must go hand in hand with educating girls and
empowering women,” she says. “If women and adolescent girls cannot
control their own fertility nor have power to say no to sex, then they will
have children earlier and are less likely to further their education.”

“What is true for poorer countries is also true
for Australia,” says Ms Kanck. “Highly educated women are more likely
to delay child-bearing and have smaller families. And given that Australians
are high consumers and thus heavier polluters, it is especially important that
Australian women have fewer children than those in poorer countries. Three or
more children is no longer acceptable in environmental terms.”

Ms Kanck stresses that the global situation,
particularly with respect to climate change, is dire and the need to end
population growth is increasingly urgent.

“Our own Chief Scientist, Professor Penny
Sackett, tells us the world has only six years to act on climate change ,”
Ms Kanck says. “Ending population growth is an essential part of that

Further information/comment: Sandra Kanck 08 8336 4114


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