How Women's Education Can Moderate Population Growth

By Victoria Oladipo | Mar 17, 2023

According to the United Nations, the current world population clocked in at 8 billion on November 15, 2022. We can ask who is counting, but significant population growth in the world has effects on the economics of the world. 

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) admits that poverty is mostly influenced by population dynamics, including population growth. With global inflation rising, the influence of population growth will be seen in the economics of poor nations. More than half of the people living in poverty are only present in 5 out of the 198 countries in the world.

When it comes to controlling population growth, some governments have tried using policies to help reduce their growing population—the Chinese one-child policy comes to mind—which is not as effective because it reduces the number of young people in the country, leaving it a geriatric society. The other method that has been shown to work is giving women in society more access to education, health care, and birthing facilities.

Education has been proven to be of benefit to both communities and individuals alike. Countries with a highly educated citizenry are more likely to control their population than countries with less educated ones. A study has also shown that education for women reduces the rate of fertility; women with completed primary and secondary education are more likely to give birth to fewer children than women with no education at all.

In a growing society like Bangladesh, it was observed that there were also a lot of early marriages and babies, so the government gave women more education and birth control to help slow down the population growth. The focus on educating the female population helped reduce the country's growing population. The working-age population was increasing by 1.5 million per year, which caused the country to be poor and dependent on foreign aid. To control the population, the government and social service workers worked hard to control the population and educate women about family planning. By the mid-1980s, contraceptive practices had increased from 12.6 per cent to 25 per cent. Women with higher levels of education typically have easier access to information and health services that allow them to have smaller families if that is their preference. Additionally, educated women are in a better position to negotiate with their husbands, who frequently desire more children than their wives do in countries with high fertility rates.

In Nigeria, the birth rate for women under 25 dropped by one child in the 1970s after Universal Primary Education (UPE) was put in place. Although this is a good view, the effect of this differs from the north to the south. Northern Nigeria has about eight states with the worst education for girls. These eight states also had the highest rate of underage (under 15 years old) girl-child marriages. Even though many women now want to put off getting married and have fewer children, one of the solutions to Nigeria's growing population is still to educate the girl child and give more women access to health care and birth control.

With Nigeria going to have the second-largest population by 2100, the focus needs to be shifted to the education of girls in rural areas, especially in the northern communities. The shift of the UPE from the federal to state levels reduced the benefits of this education policy. Many states with little money now have little money for education, which makes it harder for young women to go to school.

Good care for mothers' health is important, and educating women and giving them access to these services both help a lot. Nations must focus on providing both, as they do not only reduce population growth, they provide access to women empowerment and a very good stand for women’s rights.