Sex, Lies and Population: A View from the North (W-3)

Sex, Lies and Population: A View from the North (W-3)

Publication details

  • Saturday | 31 Oct, 1992
  • Wendy Harcourt
  • Working Papers
  • 28
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Abstract

This paper looks at the contradictory issues around population and gender. It works towards a redefinition of population to open the way for a more people oriented transformation of gender, equity, and political, economic and social justice. The paper starts by defining the population debate in Europe and goes on to the history of the term "population." The author provides a feminist critique of the female body and of the reproductive technologies which have developed over the years and highlights the missing male factor in the global debates on population.  She examines the international population debate in which population is seen as a problem of the southern countries and which stresses the need to drastically reduce the population of the developing countries in order to improve the standard of living of the people in those countries. She argues that this debate should emphasize improving the status of women and how the men should  assume the responsibility for contraception. Another missing factor from this debate is the part of the western countries in the population explosion. It is emphasized that it is not the over population in the South but the over consumption of the North which is the cause environmental degradation. In conclusion the author suggests that the issue of population should take into consideration the rights of women as a part of human rights, which are crucial for more balanced development, and the population debate should focus on providing new ways of knowledge on population and different sets of political and social practises.