Although India is the second most populated country in the world, we are still worse off than China in family planning and access to contraceptives. Contraceptives are still considered taboo in many parts of the country, so the concept of family planning is not working out all too well for us.
A UN study revealed that a record 225 million women are either deprived or wilfully not using contraceptives. These women mostly belong to 69 of the poorest countries on Earth and India comes after China in giving its women access to birth control and sexual rights. Another South Asian country and also our neighbour, Pakistan is placed much below India.
About 70-89 per cent Indian women are allowed to make family planning decisions in this country. This number is much better than Pakistan and Afghanistan where only 50-69% of the women are involved in family planning. However, China has joined many developed nations by allowing over 90% of their women to choose how many children to have, when to have and if not to have any at all.
“When women and couples can plan their families, women are better enabled to complete their education. This in turn strengthens their autonomy within their households and improves their earning power. Each additional year of schooling for girls boosts their employment prospects, increases future earnings by about 10% and reduces infant mortality by up to 10%,” says a World Economic Forum report that came out recently.
India is at a rising point currently with a consistent economic growth and to further our pace, it is of utmost importance to give women their deserved space in society. It is her womb and only she must decide how to grow her family too. NGOs and government should work together in bringing up initiatives that ensure awareness in all the villages and slum areas that are far and between.