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The state of the world's women 1985: World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women, Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, Kenya, July 15-26, 1985.
[Unpublished] 1985. 19 p.This report, based on results of a questionnaire completed by 121 national governments as well as independent research by UN agencies, assesses the status of the world's women at the end of the UN Decade for Women in the areas of the family, agriculture, industrialization, health, education, and politics. Women are estimated to perform 2/3 of the world's work, receive 1/10 of its income and own less than 1/100 of its property. The findings revealed that women do almost all the world's domestic work, which combined with their additional work outside the home means that most women work a double day. Women grow about 1/2 the world's food but own very little land, have difficulty obtaining credit, and are overlooked by agricultural advisors and projects. Women constitute 1/3 of the world's official labor force but are concentrated in the lowest paid occupations and are more vulnerable to unemployment than men. Although there are signs that the wage gap is closing slightly, women still earn less than 3/4 of the wage of men doing similar work. Women provide more health care than do health services, and have been major beneficiaries of the global shift in priorities to primary health care. The average number of children desired by the world's women has dropped from 6 to 4 in 1 generation. Although a school enrollment boom is closing the gap between the sexes, women illiterates outnumber men by 3 to 2. 90% of countries now have organizations promoting the advancement of women, but women are still greatly underrepresented in national decision making because of their poorer educations, lack of confidence, and greater workload. The results repeatedly point to the major underlying cause of women's inequality: their domestic role of wife and mother, which consumes about 1/2 of their time and energy, is unpaid, and is undervalued. The emerging picture of the importance and magnitude of the roles women play in society has been reflected in growing concern for women among governments and the community at large, and is responsible for the positive achievements of the decade in better health care and more employment and educational opportunities. Equality for women will require that they have equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities in every area of life.
Socio-economic development and fertility decline in Costa Rica. Background paper prepared for the project on socio-economic development and fertility decline.
New York, New York, United Nations, 1985. 118 p. (ST/ESA/SER.R/55)This summary of information on the development process in Costa Rica and its relation to fertility from 1950-70 is a revision of a study prepared for the Workshop on Socioeconomic Development and Fertility Decline held in Costa Rica in April 1982 as part of a UN comparative study of 5 developing countries. The report contains chapters on background information on fertility and the family, historical facts, and political organization of Costa Rica; the development strategy and its consequences vis a vis the composition of the gross domestic product, balance of trade, investment trends, the structure of the labor force, educational levels, and income; the allocation of public resources in public employment, public investment, credit, public expenditures, and the impact of resource allocation policies; changes in land tenure patterns; cultural factors affecting fertility, including education, women and their family roles, behavior in the home, women and politics, work and social security, and race and religion; changes in demographic variables, including nuptiality patterns, marital fertility, and natural fertility and birth control; characteristics and determining factors of the decline in fertility, including levels and trends, decline by age group, decline in terms of birth order, differences among population groups, how fertility declined, and history and role of family planning programs; and a discussion of the modernization process in Costa Rica and the relationship between demographic and socioeconomic variables. Beginning with the 1948 civil war, Costa Rica underwent drastic changes which were still reflected in national life as late as 1970. The industrial sector and the government bureaucracy have become decisive forces in development and the government has become the major employer. The state plays a key role in economic life, and state participation is a determining factor in extending medical and educational resources in the social field. The economically active population declined from 64% in 1960 to 55% in 1975 due to urbanization and migration from rural to urban areas, but there was an increase in economic participation of women, especially in urban areas. Increased educational level of the population in general and women in particular created changes in traditional attitudes and behavior. Although there is no specific explanation of why Costa Rica's fertility decline occurred, some observations about its determining factors and mechanisms can be made: the considerable economic development of the 1950s and 1960s brought about a rapid rise in per capita income and changes in the structure of production as well as substantial social development, increased opportunities for self-improvement for some social groups, and a rise in expectations. The size of the family became an aspect of conflict between rising expectations and increasing expenses. The National Family Planning Program helped accelerate the fertility decline.
Populi. 1983; 10(1):13-35.Levels and trends of fertility throughout the world during the 1970s are assessed in an effort to show how certain factors, modifications of which are directly or indirectly specified in the World Population Plan of Action as development goals, affected fertility and conditions of the family during the past decade. The demographic factors considered include age structure, marriage age, marital status, types of marital unions, and infant and early childhood mortality. The social, economic, and other factors include rural-urban residence, women's work, familial roles and family structure, social development, and health and contraceptive practice. Recent data indicate that the rate at which children are born into the world as a whole has continued its slow decline. During 1975-80 there were, on the average, 29 live births/1000 population at mid year. During the preceding 5-year period, there occurred annually about 32 live births/1000 population. This change represents a decline of 3 births/1000 population worldwide and approximately 14 million fewer births over a period of 5 years. This change in the global picture largely reflects the precipitous downward course that appears to have characterized China's crude birthrate. There are marked differences in fertility levels between developing and developed regions. In developing countries, births occurred on the average at the rate of 33/1000 population during 1975-80, compared with only about 16/1000 in the developed nations. Levels of the crude birthrate varied even more among individual countries. The changes in levels and trends of fertility may be attributed to many of the factors noted in the Plan of Action as requiring national and international efforts at improvement. The populations of the less developed and more developed regions as a whole aged somewhat during the decade of the 1970s. In both regions, the number of women in the reproductive ages increased relative to the size of the total population, but the change was more marked in the less developed regions. Recommendations in the Plan of Action as to establishment of an appropriate minimum age at 1st marriage subsume existence of too low an age at 1st marriage mainly in certain developing countries. The Plan of Action calls for the reduction of infant mortality as a goal in itself using a variety of means. Achievement of this goal might also affect fertility. Recent findings concerning the influence of social, economic, and other factors upon fertility levels and change are summarized, with focus on topics highlighted in the World Population Plan of Action.
United Nations/World Health Organization Meeting on Socio-Economic Determinants and Consequences of Mortality, Mexico City, 19-25 June 1979.
Population Bulletin. 1980; (13):60-74.The objectives of the United Nations/World Health Organization (WHO) Meeting on Socioeconomic Determinants and Consequences of Mortality, held in Mexico City in June 1979, were the following: to review the knowledge of differential mortality and to identify gaps in the understanding of its socioeconomic determinants and consequences; to discuss the methodological and technical problems associated with data collection and analysis; to consider the policy implications of the findings presented and to promote studies on the implications of socioeconomic differentials in mortality on social policy and international development strategies; to formulate recommendations and guidelines for the utilization of the 1980 round of population censuses for in-depth studies of mortality differentials; and to stimulate national and international research on differential mortality. Participants discussed the state of knowledge of socioeconomic differentials and determinants of mortality and described the socioeconomic measures available, the methods of data collection and analysis used, and the findings themselves. A number of characteristics had been employed in the study of differential mortality, and these could be grouped under the following headings: occupation; education; housing; income, wealth; family size; and place of residence. The techniques or methods used to analyze mortality were direct and indirect methods, and these are examined. Inequalities in mortality were found to be closely associated with inequalities in social and economic conditions. Any effort to reduce or remove those inequalities would have to be based on a clear understanding of their causes and interrelationships in order to succeed. Participants indicated a desire to see a resurgence of mortality research, and some research suggestions are outlined.
Lexington, Massachusetts, Women's International Network News, 1982 Nov. 338 p.This report documents the existence and prevalence in Africa and in other regions of the world of the cultural practice of female circumcision and genital mutilation (FC/GM). This serious problem is examined so that it can be abolished. Until recently the problem was hidden from the public, and most health, government and international agency officials denied that the practices were widespread. In 1979 at a World Health Organization (WHO) seminar on traditional health practices, the problem received international attention. Recommendations made by the seminar participants urged nations to adopt policies to abolish FC/GM, to establish commissions to coordinate activities aimed at abolishing the practices, and to intensify efforts to educate the public and health professionals about the problem. In 1984 it was estimated that 79.97 million women in Africa had FC/GM operations performed at some time during their life. The proportion of women who have had FC/GM operations was almost 100% in Somalia, 90% in Ethiopia, 80% in Sudan, Mali, and Sierra Leone, and 60% in Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Gambia. Information is provided on 1) the extent of the practices, 2) the health problems associated with FC/GM, 3) the 1979 WHO seminar, 4) the history of FC/GM, and 5) the cultural beliefs supporting the practices. Case histories provide detailed information on the practices in 11 African countries, 4 countries on the Arab Pennisula, and 2 Asian countries, including Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Upper Volta, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The existence of FC/GM practices in many other countries, including Western nations, is also documented. These practices are also discussed in reference to the depressed status of women in many African countries, and the role of women in these countries is examined in regard to legal matters, education, employment, agriculture, family planning, development, and urbanization. Political factors hindering the abolition of the practices and the hesitancy of international agencies such as WHO, US Agency for International Development, and the UN Children's Fund, to deal with the problem are discussed. There is some evidence that FC/GM operations are being conducted in hospitals in a number of African countries, and efforts must be made to prohibit the introduction of these practices into the modern health care system. Suggestions are provided for action and education programs aimed at abolishing FC/GM practices. An annotated bibliograpy, containing 78 references, is also provided.