We have been warned for decades that the human species is overpopulating the Earth. Yet our population explodes, which means the usable portion of the Earth per individual shrinks, as does the allotted proportion of its resources, all of which become more quickly limiting when abused. We have tried many things to remedy this situation: education, birth control, feeding the hungry, shipping industrial technology to poor nations, and so on. In my opinion, however, we have not addressed the primary cause of overpopulation—the inequality between men and women.
Men have long dominated women. Through such domination, women are physically forced to produce most of the world's food yet are allowed to own but an infinitesimal part of the land. Women have had only one way to be uniquely valued by men—having babies, preferably boys. And since most societies are patriarchal, some to an extreme, having sons also equates with a woman's social value.
Regardless of where I have traveled, I have found that women with a good education have fewer children and have them later in life. Education affords increased opportunities and a variety of ways to be valued. I submit, therefore, that if we are serious about controlling the human population, women must have an equal voice in all decisions and unequivocal access to opportunities for self-valuation and social valuation. On the surface, this means such things as equal opportunity for education, jobs, and equal pay for equal work. At its root, this means changing the male attitude of superiority towards women—a difficult task and a vitally necessary one.
Equality is also a basic tenet of democracy, a tenet that is still denied women more than 200 years after the United States of America was founded on the ideal of human equality. If gender inequality is a familial problem, then it is a community problem, a regional problem, a national problem, and a global problem. Therefore, gender equality within a family begins to create gender equality on a community basis, as well as a regional basis, a national basis, and a global basis. After all, the global society is composed of communities, each of which adds the influence of its unique touch to the whole.
Controlling the human population begins here, in our homes, which form the local community. It begins within each family; among neighbors; among acquaintances; among sales people and customers, bosses, and employees; and among elected officials who represent the people. The family (and to a greater extent, the community) that practices real gender equality within itself begins to change the world and to control the human population. If you doubt me—ask the women!
©chris maser 2006. All rights reserved.