Fifty years ago, a woman gave birth to, on average, five children; in 1994, the figure dropped to 2.9; and today it's 2.5. During this time, humanity has come a long way in the direction of gender equality and improving the quality of health care. However, this progress is not everywhere. This is stated in the report of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the creation of this UN Agency.
In a number of African countries, for example, without access to contraception, women give birth to six children. In Europe, on the contrary, for half a century the birth rate fell sharply. UNFPA believes that the situation of women's rights, including their rights to reproductive health and family planning, is more important than numbers.
According to reports, about 200 million women in the world would like to prevent pregnancy, but can not use modern contraceptives or get expert help. 800 women per day die as a result of preventable problems related to pregnancy and childbirth. More than 40% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 surveyed in 51 countries worldwide reported that they had no opportunity to refuse a partner sexual intimacy. In many countries, girls are still married until they reach the age of maturity. "Hundreds of millions of women are denied the right to make decisions about their own bodies," - says Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA. According to her, this lawlessness affects all other spheres of life – from education to career, deprives a woman of the opportunity to determine her future.
Since the report is an anniversary one, it is a kind of summary of UNFPA activities for half a century. In 1969, the world population reached 3.6 billion, an increase of about 1 billion in just 17 years. At that time, the birth rate worldwide was about twice as high as today. Many governments were in panic at the time: it was believed that such rapid population growth would lead to resource depletion and mass starvation.In this context, UNFPA was established with the objective of informing developing countries about the socio-economic impact of population growth and supporting national population programmes.
The anniversary report was called "unfinished business". "We have a long way before all women and girls will achieve the real opportunity to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health," said Natalia Kanem.