Not a single country has yet achieved full gender equity and women across the world continue to suffer from discrimination, abuse and lack of choice. Gender inequality is a primary driver of high birth rates.

Most women live in developing countries, which often rank poorly on gender equity. More than 230 million women who wish to avoid pregnancy are currently unable to because they are not using modern contraception. A quarter of all girls do not attend secondary school and one in five girls is married before her 18th birthday, meaning many women still spend most of their lives bearing children at short intervals. Empowering women and girls is one of the most powerful, yet sadly neglected, solutions to overpopulation.

Learn more about women’s rights and population here.

See our latest news stories and blog posts about women’s rights below.

Contraception and lack of reproductive health

Sustainability Insights

Global perspective

Worldwide, 225 million women have an ‘unmet need’ for modern contraception. Having an unmet need is defined as wanting to stop or delay childbearing but not using any method of contraception1. 

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18 September 2018

Tanzanian president: “birth control is for the lazy”

President Magufuli was speaking at a rally when he called on people to ignore advice on using birth control as it was coming from “foreigners with sinister motives”.

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9 May 2018

Ending child marriage “morally right, economically smart”

A new report examining the impact of child marriage in Ethiopia has highlighted the many devastating impacts it has on individuals and society. More than one-in-three girls are married below the age of 18 in Ethiopia.

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Population Matters climate change conferece 2018
5 March 2018

Empowering women and melted ice: PM conference 2018

On Saturday, Population Matters’s 2018 conference, Climate change and Us: more feet, more heat? took place in London. Hundreds of people turned up. Our international panel covered a wide range of topics, including the effects of climate change, its impacts on food supply, the challenges of empowering women and the future paths of population and emissions.

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22 February 2018

Global Gag Rule – one year on

A year on, the effects of US President Trump's reinstated and expanded Mexico City Policy are starting to be seen. The most vulnerable countries, those for whom family planning saved lives and helped lift people out of poverty, are most affected.

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9 January 2018

Imams support family planning in Senegal

Public health officials and NGOs in Senegal turn to mosques to expand the provision of family planning, The Christian Science Monitor reports. A key first step, results indicate.

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23 February 2017

Challenging the Global Gag Rule

Population Matters supports international efforts to defend family planning following the Trump administration’s ban on overseas aid for organisations providing abortion or information about it. Please join the campaign.

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27 January 2017

President Trump reinstates ‘Global Gag Rule’

On 23 January 2017, family planning services worldwide received a blow when President Trump reinstated and expanded, the ‘Global Gag Rule’. The policy stipulates that no US overseas aid money will be given to any organisation providing abortions or information about abortion. 

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27 August 2016

Teen pregnancy rates continue to fall

The Family Planning Association (FPA) has recently reported on the latest teenage pregnancy figures from the Office for National Statistics, which recorded a 6.4 per cent decrease in teenage pregnancies in England and Wales for the second quarter of 2015 vs. the same period for the previous year.

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