By Cody Peluso
First things first, let’s talk about reproductive health and rights. It’s high time we place the rights of women and girls at the forefront of all discussions surrounding World Population Day.
World Population Day reminds us of the importance of everyone having access to quality healthcare services, including family planning and maternal care. It goes beyond mere accessibility; we must also address the social and patriarchal norms that hinder individuals from accessing the sexual and reproductive services they desire and deserve. Shockingly, due to the unmet need of contraceptives around the globe, a staggering 218 million women do not have the autonomy to use contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But what stands in the way of women accessing the care they need? Patriarchy.
World Population Day reminds us that countless women across the globe continue to have their fundamental human rights violated. These violations aren’t just inhumane and wrong, they are bad for our planet. The global number of child brides has soared to an estimated 650 million, encompassing both underage girls, and adult women who married in childhood. Additionally, it is estimated that some 200 million girls globally have experienced some form of Female Genital Mutilation, an internationally recognized human rights violation. One in three women, equivalent to nearly 730 million individuals, have endured sexual or physical violence in their lifetimes. Why are so many women still trapped in cycles of violence and early marriage? The answer lies in misogyny and patriarchal norms.
World Population Day is all about ensuring individuals have the power to make informed choices about their bodies and their futures. After all, when people have control over their reproductive health, it paves the way for healthier and happier lives, fostering a healthier and happier planet as a result. World Population Day should be about enhancing the rights of women and girls and striving to eradicate violence in all its forms, in every community worldwide. After all, our future depends on hers.
Since its establishment by the United Nations in 1989, World Population Day has played a vital role in raising awareness about the consequences of overpopulation and promoting responsible family planning. Each year, the significant occasion provides a platform to emphasize the interconnections between population, development, and sustainability. It encourages collaboration among governments, organizations, and individuals to address this urgent issue.
World Population Day is a constant reminder that we must work together to tackle the challenges posed by population growth. The global population continues to increase at an alarming rate, with far-reaching implications. We need to strike a balance between the number of people on Earth and the finite resources available. The goal is to ensure everyone can enjoy a decent standard of living without depleting our planet’s resources. This is achievable, if we work towards enhancing the rights for every girl and woman, irrespective of their community, city or country.
However, it’s not just about numbers; it’s about people too. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are vital for sustainable development. World Population Day highlights the need to ensure that women and girls have access to education, healthcare, and equal opportunities. When women are given a fair chance, they become agents of change, making informed decisions about their own lives and contributing to the betterment of society.
World Population Day, observed annually on July 11th, serves as a crucial reminder of the challenges posed by overpopulation and the urgent need for sustainable solutions. As our global population surges, surpassing 8 billion people, we need innovative approaches that engage and educate the masses.
The Earth has finite resources, including land, water, energy sources, and raw materials. As population grows, the demand for these resources also grows, potentially leading to resource depletion, strain on ecosystems, and environmental degradation. Feeding a growing population becomes a significant challenge as agricultural activities expand to meet the demand for food, giving rise to issues like deforestation, soil degradation, and water scarcity. These factors can negatively impact biodiversity, contribute to climate change, and threaten long-term food security.
A larger population inevitably leads to increased consumption and waste generation. This places additional stress on ecosystems, contributes to pollution, and exacerbates climate change. Human activities, such as industrial production and transportation, can lead to greenhouse gas emissions, habitat destruction, and biodiversity loss. Providing essential services and infrastructure, such as housing, healthcare, education, and sanitation, becomes more challenging as the population grows. Meeting the Feeding a growing population becomes a significant challenge needs of a rapidly expanding population requires significant investments in infrastructure development, which can strain economies and resources.
An excessively large population can be detrimental to the overall quality of life for individuals. Overcrowding, competition for resources, and increased social and economic inequalities may result in reduced access to opportunities, decreased living standards, and challenges in providing adequate healthcare, education, and other services. It is essential to consider the consequences of population growth on various aspects of life to ensure sustainable development and a better future for all.
Population Media Center (PMC) stands at the forefront of this effort, utilizing entertainment education to address the rights of women and girls, globally with massively popular TV and radio shows.
Population Media Center, founded in 1998, specializes in serialized dramas that integrate vital social and reproductive health messages into captivating storylines. By utilizing the power of entertainment education, PMC effectively disseminates information, challenges cultural norms, and empowers individuals to make informed choices regarding family planning.
PMC adopts a unique approach to entertainment education by creating radio and television dramas that reflect the local culture, language, and context of the target population. These thoughtfully crafted dramas revolve around relatable characters and compelling narratives, drawing audiences into the storylines while subtly delivering key messages.
The characters in PMC’s dramas face a range of challenges related to complex issues, such as early marriage, unintended pregnancies, gender inequality, and lack of access to reproductive healthcare. By weaving these issues into the narrative fabric, PMC’s dramas educate viewers and encourage critical thinking about social norms and behaviour.
PMC’s innovative entertainment education initiatives have garnered significant success worldwide. In more than 50 countries, including Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Nepal, The United States and Mexico, PMC’s serial dramas have helped shatter cultural taboos, ignited crucial conversations, and influenced positive behavior change. Through extensive research and monitoring, PMC has documented impressive outcomes such as increased contraceptive use, delayed age of marriage, improved gender equality, reduced fertility rates, and enhanced knowledge about sexual and reproductive health. By harnessing the power of entertainment to educate and PMC’s dramas educate viewers and encourage critical thinking about social norms and behaviour engage, PMC’s initiatives are empowering communities and individuals to make informed choices that benefit their well-being and the planet’s sustainability.
World Population Day serves as a global reminder of the pressing need to address the challenges of overpopulation. In this critical endeavor, Population Media Center’s pioneering approach of entertainment education has proven to be a powerful tool in fostering awareness, challenging societal norms, and influencing behavior change. By leveraging the captivating power of serialized dramas, PMC is successfully engaging audiences and promoting sustainable solutions to overpopulation.
World Population Day serves as a poignant global reminder to prioritize the rights of women and girls and unite in our collective efforts to challenge and dismantle patriarchal norms. Let’s create a world where equality and respect thrive.
Cody Peluso works with Population Media Center, which on June 15th, 2023, celebrated 25 years of telling transformative stories around the world. To discover more about the impact we’ve made, visit https://www.populationmedia.org/25th-anniversary