Tuesday, July 11 was World Population Day, and leaders from around the globe met in London to review how much progress is being made in giving women deciding power in their pregnancies to meet global development goals.
Established as an observed day by the U.N. in 1990, World Population Day commemorates continuing efforts to empower women through gender equality initiative and access to safe contraceptives – both are tools to reduce global poverty.
July 11 also coincided with the 2017 Family Planning Summit, which was held in London and was organized by the United Nations Population Fund, the United Kingdom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Here are four ways various countries and organizations observed World Population Day:
- The Central Luzon region of the Philippines commemorated the day by highlighting the importance of women’s empowerment as a benefit to communities. Activities and coordination with local government emphasized the importance of advocating for women’s choice in policymaking. Hamis Kigwangalla, Tanzania’s deputy minister of health, community development and gender, led the nation in observing WPD. The theme of the observance was the same theme as it was for the year: “Family Planning: Empowering People and Developing Nations.”Education on various contraceptive methods was provided, with an emphasis on family planning as a means of addressing health and rights for women at home and globally.
- The Girls Empowerment Movement (GEM) observed World Population Day in partnership with Good Food Brampton and IMPACT Leaders Fund on July 22. The organization hosted a workshop which educated participants on integrating sustainability into everyday life. According to its website, GEM connects youth in the Peel region of Canada to mentoring, leadership and empowerment opportunities.
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commemorated World Population Day by attending the Family Planning Summit in London. The summit stressed the importance of providing access to safe contraceptives to ensure that women are empowered to achieve greater stability, contribute towards global prosperity and increase their quality of life.“Longer-term, more innovative research and development needs to be done to create new contraceptives that meet more of women’s needs,” Melinda Gates said in her speech at the summit.“If you put these innovations together, the future looks promising. Women get the contraceptives they need when they need them. As a result, they have more opportunities, raise healthy children, and build more prosperous families and communities,” Gates said.
- The Gambia also officially commemorated World Population Day with a meeting in Sanyang Village. The government placed an emphasis on the relationship between population and the reduction of poverty and national development. The event was organized with the participation of the Health Promotion Directorate and the United Nations Population Fund.
Providing women in developing countries with access to contraceptives empowers them to be economically independent and contributes to global prosperity and development.
– Hannah Pickering