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Gender Equality as a Development Goal

In his February contribution to project syndicate, Bjorn Lomborg discusses how gender equality can be addressed within the post-2015 development agenda.

It is clear that gender equality has a number of important components, but reproduction is a key issue in determining life opportunities. In particular, allowing women to decide if, when, and how often they become pregnant leads to fewer deaths in childbirth and fewer infant deaths. It also gives mothers more time to devote to raising their children and investing in the next generation. It is not surprising, then, that money spent on family-planning programs turns out to be such a good investment.

But there are other gender targets to consider. The best way to reduce violence against women, lift them out of poverty, and empower them to be full and equal members of society is to break the cycle of early marriage and childbirth.

Such a large change is not easy to achieve, but if girls can stay in school longer and have decent job opportunities available to them after they graduate, they are likely to marry and bear children later."

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