This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tanzania's President Urges Women to STOP Using Birth Control!

CNN has just reported that the President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, has called on women in his country to stop using birth control because the country needs more people. 
"Those going for family planning are lazy ... they are afraid they will not be able to feed their children. They do not want to work hard to feed a large family and that is why they opt for birth controls and end up with one or two children only," he said at a public rally on Sunday. He was quoted in a local newspaper, The Citizen, as saying that those advocating for birth control were foreign and had sinister motives.

Magufuli urged citizens to keep reproducing as the government was investing in maternal health and opening new district hospitals.
Now, for the record, the latest PRB World Population Data Sheet show that the average woman in Tanzania is having 5.2 children. To be sure, this is down from 6 children 20 years ago, but it still means that Tanzania is one of the top 8 countries in the world in terms of population growth over the next several decades. They are projected to increase from the current 59 million to 84 million by 2030 and 138 million by 2050--more than a doubling in scarcely more than three decades! And these projections assume that fertility will drop to about 3.5 children by the middle of this century.

So, the need for women to stop using birth control is obviously bogus. Magufuli argued that:
"You have cattle. You are big farmers. You can feed your children. Why then resort to birth control?" he asked. "This is my opinion, I see no reason to control births in Tanzania," Magufuli, who has two children, said.
The CNN reporter, Stephanie Busari, hints at the real issue--sexism. Males seem to be feeling threatened by increasing control of women over their own bodies and lives. In the meantime, the future of Tanzania almost certainly depends upon women using more birth control, not less.

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