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REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH MATTERS. 1993 May; (1):67-77.Malaysia's population policy established in 1984 aimed to slow the decline in the fertility rate to .1 point every 5 years from the current decline of .3 or .4 points every 5 years. The aim was to achieve a stable population of 70 million by the year 2100, instead of the projection of 39 million by the year 2150. The perceived social and economic implications of this policy were considered, but the impact on women was not. Earlier policies have focused on the health of women and the need for family planning (FP), but the new objective was to spur economic growth through a larger number of "quality" human resources. This article examines the public response to the policy, the impact on FP programs, the impact on women and women's fertility, the role of donor agencies, women-centered policies and programs, and an action agenda for women's organizations. From academic circles, the response was to question the viability of increasing population when already there was insufficient infrastructure and services. In 1990, 34% of rural areas still did not have safe water and 10% had no electricity. The current Deputy Minister Fong had previously expressed the concern that work force needs did not demand large numbers, but rather, highly skilled persons were needed. Few of these concerns were expressed in the media. Chinese and Indians thought the policy was an attempt to increase the Malay numbers. The Malays saw it as a call to strengthen their race and religion. The FP Board set new targets for acceptors. Abortions were not as easily obtained. Reports surfaced of FP clinics refusing to give pills or IUDs to women with few children. Actual fertility declined from 3.9 to 1980 to 3.3 in 1990 and varied by region and ethnic group. Malay fertility increased from 4.5 in 1989 to 4.8 in 1985, and then began to decline in the late 1980s. A survey found 59% of women favored the policy of which 75% were Malays. There was some decline in donor support. The maternal mortality rate was unaffected. Women apparently want fertility limitation. Women's groups were more active in reflecting their concerns around 1984 than at present, but women activists are still a new phenomena. There is need for women's groups to link up with other national and international women's health networks.
Attitudes towards demographic trends and population policy: a comparative multi-variate analysis of survey results from Italy and the Netherlands.
[Unpublished] 1987. Presented at the European Population Conference, 1987, Jyvaskyla, Finland, June 11-16, 1987. 18 p.The results of surveys of the attitudes toward current demographic trends and population policies conducted in Italy and Netherlands were compared. The Dutch and Italian surveys were comparable because their aims and parts of the questionnaire were similar, making it possible to analyze the common aspects. The Italian data were taken from a recent survey of the National Institute of Population Research. The survey population included all those of reproductive and marriageable age. 1503 interviews were conducted. The survey was initiated in November 1983 and terminated in February 1984. 952 people were interviewed in the Dutch survey, initiated in 1983. It comprised a representative 2-stage stratified random sample of the Dutch population aged 20-64 years. Both the Dutch and the Italians knew that the birthrate had been declining: 93% of the Italians and 63% of the Dutch. This trend was rated positively by 52% of the Italians and 46% of the Dutch. 52% of the Italian respondents and 58% of the Dutch wanted the population to remain stationary in the future. The 1st important difference was that in Italy the number of respondents who evaluated the birth decline negatively was about 2.5 times as high as in the Netherlands where there was a very high percentage of people who were indifferent to the problem--40% in the Netherlands, 10% in Italy. In Italy, 15% favored an increase in population size in contrast to 8% in the Netherlands. The respondents in both countries had clear ideas on the causes of the fertility decline, but the Italians generally had less set ideas than the Dutch. The economic crisis and the lack of confidence in the future were identified as the most important causes; in the Netherlands, women's work outside the home was considered to be more important than in Italy. In both countries, state intervention concerning fertility was rejected in the majority of cases--67% of the Italians and 81% of the Dutch. A 2-step elaboration was carried out for the identification of typologies of respondents. The Multiple Correspondence Analysis was carried out on 2 subjects: Knowledge and evaluation of current demographic trends; and the acceptance of population policies concerning fertility in relation to their perception of the falling birthrate. The analysis identified typologies of respondents with different levels of information and opinion towards population trends, and 4 clusters for Italy and 4 for the Netherlands were comparable. both the "pronatalist" and the antinatalist" respondents in both countries were, in general, well informed, and in both countries the "interventionists" were, in general, people with a low level of education.