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  • World Population Day: Reproductive rights & gender equality

    Thursday 11 July 2019 is World Population Day. This year’s theme is reproductive rights and gender equality, to mark 25 years since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, where 179 governments recognised that reproductive health and gender equality are essential for achieving sustainable development.

    The Centre for Population Change investigates how and why our population is changing and one of our core research areas is 'Fertility and family'. For this year's World Population Day theme we are highlighting some of our recent work on reproductive rights and gender equality.

    Reproductive rights

    CPC researcher Heini Vaisanen has been looking at socioeconomic factors in different populations, comparing the timings, attitudes and behavioural changes around contraception and induced abortions. We asked Heini about her research and why research on reproductive rights is important to society:

    "My main research interest is to study sexual and reproductive health in low- and middle-income countries. Lately, I have been exploring indirect estimation of abortion in Africa; medication abortion use and its links to health literacy in Nigeria; and women’s decisions to either continue with or terminate an unintended pregnancy in a range of Asian and Latin American countries.

    It is important to study sexual and reproductive health in low- and middle-income countries, because it has significant implications for women’s health and population health more widely. Currently, according to some estimates, unsafe abortion is causing over 10 per cent of maternal deaths, for instance. These tragedies could be prevented by providing better access to family planning and safe abortion services."

    Read more about Heini Vaisanen's work:
    - Induced abortions by woman's country of origin in Finland 2001-2014, Scandinavian Journal of Public Health (2018). Authors: Heino A, Gissler M, Malin M, Vaisanen H,
    - Contraceptive use among migrant women with a history of induced abortion in Finland, The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care (2018). 23 (4) 274-281. Authors: Vaisanen H, Koponen P, Gissler M, Kontula O,
    - Does the association between teen births or abortions and educational attainment vary by socioeconomic background in Finland? Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (2018). 9 (2) 245-256. Authors: Vaisanen H,

    Gender Equality

    Many of our researchers are interested in gender equality and how this impacts on relationships and the choices we make. In December 2018, a group of researchers came together at the Royal Astronomical Society to discuss attitudes and myths around female breadwinner families. Project lead, Agnese Vitali has found that female breadwinners are often associated with low income and instability. Female bread-winners are more likely to work less hours and earn less pay than their male counterparts, and are less likely to be employed in managerial positions. Agnese's work with Helen Kowalewska on female breadwinner families was widely reported in the Independent, Phys.org., British Sociological Association and Working Mums.

    Additionally, female-breadwinner households are not just poorer but also have lower satisfaction levels. CPC researcher Niels Blom has been looking at female breadwinner families and uses HILDA data to examine relationship satisfaction in Australian households. He finds that relationship satisfaction declines across different types of female breadwinner households.You can find our summary of the female breadwinner workshop presentations here.


    To find out more about World Population Day 2019, visit the UN website or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook #WPD2019

    To keep up to date with all CPC's news and events, follow us on Twitter @CPCPopulation

    Posted 19/06/2019 17:39