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Family Planning, Equality For Women Essential For Global Development, Experts Say

“Improving family planning to avoid unwanted pregnancies in developing countries, as well as assuring girls’ access to education, and women’s participation in the economy, are essential components of a sound development policy, according to Western experts and African activists,” Inter Press Service reports. The news service highlights last week’s summit on family planning in London, writing that it “underscored the importance of girls’ and women’s access to contraceptives as both a right and a transformational health and development priority.” IPS adds, “Simultaneously, gender activists attending the second African Women’s Economic Summit, which concluded on July 14 in Lagos, Nigeria, urged policymakers, corporate organizations, and political leaders to step up measures to promote women’s empowerment and remove barriers impeding their economic development.”

“During the meeting in Lagos, Nigeria’s finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, emphasized that women’s economic empowerment is no longer simply an option ‘because investing in women, who constitute half of the continent’s population, is the only way to sustain the growth’ recently recorded across the African continent,” IPS writes, adding, “Participants at the London summit echoed these views, with an emphasis on the health risks associated with unwanted pregnancies.” The news service goes on to discuss parity in primary education between girls and boys, citing a U.N. 2012 Millennium Development Goals report released July 2 (Godoy, 7/18).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.