Empowering women sparks a ripple effect that benefits families, communities and nations, while access to family planning services and use of contraceptives guarantees better future for women and overall national development.
Experts have underscored the importance of empowering women to have unhindered access to contraceptives and use of family planning services.
Research shows that many countries that emerged from poverty in the last 50 years did so by expanding access to contraceptives.
If women participated in the economy at the same level as men, Nigeria could add up to an estimated $28 trillion to the global gross domestic product by 2025. That’s a 26 per cent increase, roughly equivalent to the annual GDP of the U.S. and China combined.
A McKinsey Global Institute report finds that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. The public, private, and social sectors will need to act to close gender gaps in work and society.
While all types of inequality have economic consequences, in McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report, The power of parity: How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth, we focus on the economic implications of lack of parity between men and women.
A “best in region” scenario in which all countries match the rate of improvement of the fastest-improving country in their region could add as much as $12 trillion, or 11 percent, in annual 2025 GDP. In a “full potential” scenario in which women play an identical role in labour markets to that of men, as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.
For every dollar invested in reproductive health services, $2.20 is saved in pregnancy-related health-care costs. Moreover, the longer a woman waits to have children, the longer she can participate in the paid labour force, thereby boosting the economic health and prosperity of poor communities, according to Research Gate.
For instance, 34- year-old Yinka Adelaja, who hails from Abeokuta, Ogun state, South West Nigeria, is the breadwinner of her family, thanks to the use of family planning.
Adelaja, mother of three whose children are spaced with three years, is a top Branch Manager at a commercial bank in Lagos. With the use of an Implanon, a Long Acting Reversible Contraception, (LARC) of family planning, her future is ensured.
Adelaja’s story is one which motivates women, speaks to their conscience to pursue any career goal of their dreams and have children by choice not chance.
To truly deliver global progress for people everywhere, there is need to prioritise women’s empowerment. And that means making sure all women can make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives.
In 1968, women were given the mandate for their choice following an agreement among world leaders that family planning is a basic human right.
The United Nations (UN) sexual and reproductive health agency, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) works to support transformative solutions across a range of issues, including empowering women through access to family planning.
Interestingly, the promises and declarations world leaders made half a century ago has become a reality for women around the world.
Similarly, women’s basic human right to determine if, when, and how many children to have, is still at the centre of political debates.
Today, the world is seeing many governments roll back access to family planning, even while 44 per cent of all pregnancies globally are unplanned. There are still more than 200 million women in developing regions who want to avoid pregnancy and are not able to use safe and effective contraception.
Just like Yinka Adelaja, women can chase careers and become testimonial to the transformative impact of being able to plan their families and future through the use of family planning methods.
The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) reports that family planning improves maternal health and child survival, reduces the number of abortions overall, especially unsafe abortion, prevents sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS, apart from empowering women, promoting social and economic development and security.
With the effective use of family planning, women now finished school, pursue career opportunities, raise children, and are now global advocates championing the rights of girls and women worldwide.
Family planning plays a pivotal role in population growth, poverty reduction, and human development.
Failure to sustain family planning programmes, both domestically and abroad, will lead to increased population growth and poorer health worldwide, especially among the poor.
Family planning is a prerequisite for achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) and for realising the human right of reproductive choice.
When every Nigerian woman and family can determine if and when they have children, women can pursue the job opportunities they want, and women and men can better work together to create more inclusive, equitable, and prosperous societies.
It is noteworthy to say that, each Nigerian woman, and family irrespective of where they live deserves the right opportunities, knowledge and tools to decide if, and when, to have children.