Population Policy & Women's Rights: Transforming Reproductive Choice

Population Policy & Women's Rights: Transforming Reproductive Choice

Population Policy & Women's Rights: Transforming Reproductive Choice

Population Policy & Women's Rights: Transforming Reproductive Choice

Synopsis

This work presents a forceful argument for a more responsive approach to fertility limitation in developing countries--one that builds on women's concerns about their survival and security and strengthens women's rights. Dixon-Mueller reviews the history of the debate between feminists and the birth control movement, examines the forces affecting U.S. population policy on the domestic and international fronts, and documents the relationship between women's reproductive rights and their rights in other areas.

Excerpt

This book has evolved over a period of 25 years. My interest in domestic and international population policies was first stimulated by Kingsley Davis, Judith Blake, William Petersen, and Calvin Goldscheider during graduate studies in sociology and demography at the University of California, Berkeley in the late 1960s. In 1972 1 took a year's leave from the University of California at Davis to work with the Section on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York. Energized by the emerging feminist movement and eager to put the tools of social demography to good use, I prepared a report on The Status of Women and Family Planning for the celebration of World Population Year in 1974 and International Women's Year in 1975. The study illuminated the connections between women's reproductive and productive lives in ways that have defined virtually all of my subsequent work on women's employment, marriage and childbearing, and the impact of development on women.

The international conferences on women sponsored by the United Nations in Mexico City in 1975, Copenhagen in 1980, and Nairobi in 1985, along with their associated nongovernmental forums, inspired women throughout the world to work for the elimination of oppressive gender ideologies and practices and for the equitable development of their own societies. The U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979) is particularly important as an international standard-bearer for women's rights as broadly defined. In addition, the population conferences held by the United Nations in Bucharest in 1974 and Mexico City in 1984, together with their nongovern-

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