World Population Day happens every year on 11 July. While this is not a public holiday, people all over the world observe this day annually to remember what our current global population means for humanity and the environment. This event grew out of Five Billion Day, which took place on 11 July 1987, when it was estimated that the world’s population had reached five billion people. [Source]

 

The theme this year

The theme for World Population Day this year is “Investing in Teenage Girls” (United Nations).  Many teenage girls are pushed into marriage and child-rearing by their families or communities long before they are ready. This results in these young women leaving school and being denied the opportunity to follow their aspirations. While this can and does limit the range of future career prospects for many girls, there are also more serious cases of human and sexual rights violations that exist in many marginalised communities. This is why we need to raise awareness about reproductive health and reproductive rights. Young girls all over the world have the right to this vital information.

 

With nearly 60 million individuals having fled conflict or disaster, women and adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable. Violent extremists and armed groups are committing terrible abuses that result in trauma, unintended pregnancy and infection with HIV and other diseases. (Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United Nations)

 

In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) established World Population Day to raise global population awareness. Some of the issues and challenges associated with our current worldwide population include sustainability, overcrowding, pollution, unemployment, food shortages, and inadequate health services, among many others. World Population Day urges us to remember the urgency of this situation and to find solutions that address these issues. This urgency is only increasing as, in 2011, the global population was estimated at over seven billion people, according to the United Nations.>

 

Some of the issues facing young women

The United Nations Population Fund has instituted programmes to reduce teenage pregnancy, inform young women about their human rights and reproductive health, and also to end child marriage. Some of the problems that marginalised women, and the youth in general, face in this regard include:

  • Poverty<
  • Lack of education (particularly sex education)
  • Harmful traditions
  • Gender inequality
  • Rape culture
  • Inadequate family planning facilities
  • Lack of access to contraception

 

Make a change today

Every person has the human right to determine when and if they have children. We need to empower marginalised women through information, access, and awareness. Education is the key to a healthy and sustainable society.

If you are passionate about empowering women and want to make a difference in your community, you might be interested in enrolling in a Community Development course in the Health, Wellness and Social Care field via distance learning. Career opportunities include becoming a community development professional, a youth leader, or a counsellor.

 

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