I want to share with you something that surprised Bill and me when we first started learning about global health. Like many people, we thought that if you made advancements in global health, rapid population growth would result. But, in fact, the opposite is true. When the health of a population improves, family size starts to decrease and population goes down. If a mother knows that her children are going to make it through to adulthood, she will have fewer children. She will have an easier time feeding those children and sending them to school. Life for her family starts to get better by every measure. But in order for this to happen, family planning is critical. More than 215 million women want to use modern contraceptives but don’t have access. That’s a crime. We need to make sure that every woman is able to choose how many children she wants to have and when she wants to have them.
Melinda Gates, of the Gates Foundation
, in a succinct Q&A with journalist Nick Kristof (hands down my favorite NY Times
columnist, author of the absolute must-read book Half the Sky
, and all-around pretty awesome person)